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THE RED MIRIOK
SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES
GEORGE A. NEWMAN
SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES
W. C. GRIGGS, M. D.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY A NATIVE ARTIST
ametican Baptist flubtfcatlcm Society
1420 Chestnut Street
Copyright 1901 and 1902 by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY
Published January, 1903
ffrom tbe Society's own ipress V
KOREA has been called the " Hermit Nation," as
of all nations Tibet alone has exceeded it in repulsing
foreign influences. Only in 1882 did the United
States secure a treaty, and that opened the country to
foreign trade only in the capital, Seoul, and three ports.
But in this treaty Korea was treated with as an inde-
pendent State, and its people are distinct from either
Chinese or Japanese and well repay study and mission-
ary labors. This little story is one of the first to pre-
sent this slightly known land and its customs, and
therefore deserves special attention from all who are
interested in the Christianizing of Oriental nations.
MR. KIT-ZE 9
A HASTY DESERTION 19
THE LOST RECOVERED 30
A STOWAWAY 39
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 49
A FRIENDLY HAIL 61
AN ENTREATY 71
THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 81
A THEFT 90
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 102
"ONE SOUL" 115
" Mr. Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ-' .... 17
" ' Fes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thousand of
them to make a dollar'" 28
" Yes, it was the red miriok " 38
"He began to shake him vigorously " 47
" Cheef oo prostrated himself to the magistrate" 54
" The old man was bolt upright, despite his years" ... 69
" Then, extending his hands, entreated " . 79
" He was permitted to look . . . upon the priests at their
devotions " 85
" He forthwith . . . proceeded to throw rice into the well " 92
"'Stop!' entreated Helen" 106
"'Sorry. Sorry. It was wrong. She showed me' " . . 123
THE RED MIRIOK
HEBE is one thing I
forgot to mention,"
said Mr. Reid, re-
suming the conver-
sation. "If we do
undertake our sam-
pan journey, we
must have Mr.
Kit-ze. I have al-
ready talked to him
The expression of Clarence's face so emphasized his
protest that nothing beyond the mere exclamation was
" Why, Clarence, what could be the objection to Mr.
1 ' A good one, father. He is such an eel-like fellow.
I know we couldn't depend on him. Then it strikes
me that his mind isn't right. He's always muttering
10 THE EED MIEIOK
to himself and clutching his breast in such a queer way.
Oh, I'm sure it would be a bad step to take Mr.
" That is just like a boy ! " declared Helen, his sis-
ter, ' ' jumping at conclusions. ' '
' ' You mean girls, ' ' retorted Clarence. ' ' They fairly
spring at them ; yes, reach out their arms to grasp 'em
as they spring."
"Come, children, .don't spar," warned Mr. Eeid.
' ' But, my son, ' ' turning to Clarence, ' ' I fear it is as
your sister asserts, you have arrived at conclusions too
hastily with reference to Mr. Kit-ze. He is a little
strange in his manner, I'll admit ; but his friends, some
of whom belong to the mission, tell me that he is a very
good sort of fellow, honest and well-meaning, though
he is rather grasping as to money matters."
"He is well-meaning," asserted Helen; "and I
think the reason he is so close about money is because
he has many who are dependent on him. Yes, I like
Mr. Kit-ze. Though some of his ways are strange, yet
he is good-natured and kind when you know him
"Guess, then, I don't know him well," admitted
" No ; and until you do, you won't like him."
Clarence whistled, and reached over to give the tail
of Nam-san, the monkey, a twist, which that quick-
tempered little animal resented by scratching at him
and then springing away.
"I think I know what is the matter with Mr.
ME. KIT-ZE 11
Kit-ze, ' ' said Mr. Eeid, as though in sudden comment
after following a line of thought. " He is a religious
enthusiast. ' '
Helen looked at him quickly, a glad light over-
spreading her face. " Oh, father, I didn't know that
Mr. Kit-ze had been converted. That is news. "
"I don't mean that, Helen. I wish that it were
true, for I have been working earnestly to that end for
more than a year. What I have reference to is that
he is an enthusiast in his own religious belief."-
" Why, I didn't know, uncle, that these people had
any religious belief," said his nephew, Mallard Hale,
who for a few moments past had not joined in the con-
versation. " I believe, yes, I am sure I have seen it
stated that as a country Korea is practically without a
" That is true in one sense, Mallard, but not in an-
other. While Korea has no established religion, what
might be called a national religion, as have China,
Japan, and her other neighbors, yet such of the
Koreans as have not individually embraced Buddhism,
Confucianism, and the like, are given over wholly to
ancestral and to demon worship, especially the lat-
' ' What do you mean by demon worship, uncle ? ' '
"They believe in spirits of all degrees, good, bad,
and indifferent, but principally the bad. They fill the
air around them ; they dwell in their homes ; they sit
at their feasts ; they even perch upon such portions of
the human body as suits them. They bring evil or good
12 THE EED MIRIOK
as they are angered or appeased. To counteract the
influence of the evil demons the people carry about
with them certain charms to frighten them away.
Around their habitations, especially in the country dis-
tricts, they erect these grotesque figures having resem-
blance to the human form, the more hideous the better.
They are called miriolcs. In the cities, where there is
little space for such erection, the figures, considerably
diminished in size, are either kept in the homes or
carried about the person. In many instances this de-
votion to miriofo amounts to fanaticism of the most
" Oh, yes, that is just what Mr. Kit-ze does ! " ex-
claimed Joyce, the younger son of the family. ' ' He
carries it around in his bosom. Sometimes he takes it
out and talks to it. I have seen it. Oh ! it is the
ugliest little red thing ! "
All eyes were now turned inquiringly upon him. " I
believe, yes, I am- sure," he continued, "if I were to
see it in the black dark, I'd run from it."
" Why, how could you see it in ' the black dark ' ? "
Joyce flushed as the laugh went around at his ex-
pense, then he answered : ' ' Oh, I mean if it were so I
could see it even a little bit. I am sure I could see its
eyes, for they are made out of something that just glit-
ters and burns. ' '
" It is as I supposed," said Mr. Reid ; "Mr. Kit-ze
is an enthusiast on the subject of this miriok. This ac-
counts for his strange behavior, his mutterings, and the
MR. KIT-ZE 13
clutchings at his breast. He keeps the miriok there in
the folds of his gown. He believes that it wards away
the evil spirits and invites the good. On other subjects
I am sure he is all right. At any rate, if we are going
to attempt that journey up the Han we shall be almost
dependent on him. He not only has the largest sampan
and is considered the safest boatman on the river, but
he also knows the way better, having ascended higher
than any other, I am told."
"Then, uncle, we must have him by all means,"
said Mallard decisively.
- "Yes," added Clarence somewhat flippantly, "red
mirioJc and all."
"Yes, even the red miriok to get Mr. Kit-ze," de-
clared Mallard. Then he asked, "Isn't the journey
attended by some degree of danger ? "
" With considerable danger at some places, I under-
stand, Mallard ; and this is why we should have a stout
sampan as well as a sampan man who. understands both
his business and the river. ' '
The family of Kev. Mr. Eeid, missionary at Seoul,
Korea, consisted of his wife, her widowed sister, his
two sons, Clarence and Joyce, and his daughter, Helen.
Mallard Hale, an American youth of seventeen, had
recently come to make his home with his uncle. He
was only a few months older than Clarence, and the
two cousins were very fond of each other. Helen was
nearly fifteen and Joyce twelve.
For some days they had been talking of this sampan
journey up the Han. Mr. Keid had long wanted to
14 THE RED MIRIOK
take such a trip into the interior for the purpose of
making observations of the country and of studying the
conditions of the people along the south branch of the
Han. It was reported to be a wonderfully attractive
and fertile section, with a people whose manners and
customs, differing from those in the cities, made them
of deep interest to the traveler. They were described
as quiet and peaceful, given to hospitality, and fairly
burning with curiosity.
The Mission Board, under the auspices of which Mr.
Reid labored, had for some time contemplated the es-
tablishment of a branch mission in the interior. They
were waiting for him to decide the point where it should
be located. He had hesitated a long time about un-
dertaking the sampan journey because as yet there
had not been sufficient money to defray the necessary
expenses. But the coming of his nephew, Mallard
Hale, had quickly done away with this obstacle. For
Mallard was comfortably fixed as to income, and he
insisted on bearing all the expense of hiring and pro-
pelling the sampan, while his uncle was left to provide
only for provisions and equipments.
"Then, uncle," said Mallard, after they had talked
a little further, ' ' let us decide positively on going, also
that we take Mr. Kit-ze and his sampan. ' '
"Yes, red " began Clarence, but the words
were cut short by an exclamation from Joyce.
"Why," he cried, " here is Mr. Kit-ze now ! "
Sure enough, Mr. Kit-ze was coming in. It was
just after dinner, or opan, as they would say in Korea,
MR. KIT-ZE 15
and Mr. Kit-ze was still caressing his lips with his
tongue, well pleased with the toothsome morsels that
had gone to comfort his stomach. He was a little
stouter and taller than the average man of his race,
standing five feet six in his sandals, weighing, perhaps,
one hundred and sixty pounds, and was fifty years of
age. His complexion, originally of a bright olive, had
now a deep tan through the action of sun and winds.
He had a straight nose, but rather distended nostrils,
the oblique Mongolian eye, while his hair, of a deep
russet-brown smeared with lampblack, was wound in a
knot at the top of his head.
Mr. Kit-ze had on the loose white robe of his coun-
trymen, with flowing sleeves, that fell just below the
knees. It was belted in with a girdle of straw. Be-
neath it showed his baggy trousers, gathered in at the
ankle. A Jcatsi (hat), in shape like a flower pot
turned clown over a table, wadded stockings, and san-
dals of straw completed his attire. When he removed
his hat, on Mr. Reid's invitation, there was a little
tight-fitting skullcap of horsehair underneath, carefully
placed on top of his knot of hair. He seemed solicit-
ous about his hat, not knowing just where to place it.
It was, indeed, a huge affair for a hat, the brim being
nearly six feet in circumference. At home Mr. Kit-ze
had his swinging case for his hat, but here he was at a
loss as to its disposal. Helen at length came to the res-
cue and placed it on top of the organ, where it rested,
one portion of the brim lying upon a large music book,
the other flat upon the surface of the instrument.
16 THE BED MIBIOK
"Well, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Keid, "are you
ready to take another journey with your sampan up
the South Han?"
Instead of replying to this question, Mr. Kit-ze
suggested : ' ' Better go up, the North Han, honorable
instructor. There are the Diamond Mountains. ' '
Clarence jumped up suddenly, shouting out his de-
light : "Yes, father, let's goto the Diamond Moun-
tains. Oh, won't that be glorious?"
' ' And pick up treasure, ' ' suggested Helen ; ' ' enough
to build the new mission chapel that is so needed," she
added, her eyes taking on a deeper glow as she glanced
at her father.
"Why, are there really any treasures to be found
in those mountains ? ' ' asked Mallard, catching the ex-
Mr. Kit-ze, who understood enough of the language
to catch the drift of the question, quickly replied :
" Yes, honorable sir, there are treasures. Two gentle-
men from your country got a whole wallet full of dia-
monds in the mountains last week. They say they can
be picked up like bamboo reeds after a freshet."
"Only Mr. Kit-ze's enthusiasm," said Mr. Keid in
an aside to his nephew. " Some one has been filling
him with the story, which is vastly exaggerated, I am
sure. But later in the year, Mallard, if you desire it,
we can make the trip to the Diamond Mountains.
Now my Master's business calls me in another direc-
"All right, uncle, that Diamond Mountain trip can
wait. Yes, we'll take it later," he added after a
"Is your sampan ready, Mr. Kit-ze?" Mr. Keid
"ME. KIT-ZE' s HAT WAS MOVING ACROSS THE OEGAN!"
' ' Not quite, exalted master ; but your servant can
make it ready in a day or so."
' ' Are you sure of that ? "We should like to start
by Tuesday of next week ; and when we are ready we
want the sampan ready. You understand ? "
18 , THE BED MIEIOK
"Most learned teacher, it shall be as you wish,"
Mr. Kit-ze assured him, with a bow that brought hia
forehead almost to the floor.
A, full understanding was now had ; the day set, ar-
rangements perfected, and the amount of Mr. Kit-ze' s
remuneration satisfactorily adjusted.
Mr. Kit-ze arose to go. All this time, having de-
clined the chair offered to him, he had been squatting
upon his heels, his legs doubled back under him. Con-
sidering the position, it was surprising how quickly he
got up. He had barely gained his feet when a sudden
cry that startled them all escaped him. He was gaz-
ing straight toward the organ, his features growing
rigid, his eyes dilating. Following his gaze, it took
them only an instant to discover what was the matter
Mr, Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ, moving
as though it had feet and were walking.
A HASTY DESEKTION
>HE pupils of Mr.
Kit-ze's eyes grew
larger and larger.
They seemed ready
to burst into flame.
He began to mutter :
"The spirit! the
spirit ! It has at-
tached itself to my
hat ! It will now
attend me home and
stay there ; how
long, I do not
He made a sudden movement toward the
door. He was evidently going away without his hat.
Nothing could induce him to touch it while the spirit
had taken hold of it in so demonstrative a way. Plainly
his thought was that it was better to lose the hat than
to run the risk of contact with the spirit.
His movement was hasty, but, quick as he was,
Helen acted more quickly. In an instant of time, as
it were, she had grasped the whole situation. Her
eyes too had done her good service. Her glance
20 THE BED MIBIOK
in the direction of the moving hat had shown her
what Mr. Kit-ze did not see, nor even the others at
first, an inch or so of snake-like tail showing beneath
the rim of the hat. She sprang toward the organ,
quickly threw up the hat, and exposed to view the
whole furry body of Nam-san, the mpnkey, who began
to chatter at her indignantly, the shrill notes heard
above the burst of laughter that now came from the
Mr. Kit-ze was just backing out of the doorway,
but he paused as Helen's quick movement disclosed
Nam-san under the hat.
" You see it is the monkey, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen
smiling. " He is a mischievous little beast, and doesn't
respect anything that he can have his fun with ; not
even your hat, Mr. Kit-ze. But he hasn't hurt it.
See, it is all right ! ' '
She advanced toward Mr. Kit-ze bearing the hat.
She held it toward him, but he did not take it. He
still seemed alarmed, and his glance was nervous.
Seeing the condition Mr. Kit-ze was still in and his
attitude toward the hat, Mr. Eeid now came to Helen's
assistance. "There has no harm befallen the hat,"
he assured Mr. Kit-ze. "It was only the little beast
under it, as you saw, that was causing it to move. It
is all right now, my friend, ' ' and he took the hat from
Helen and held it toward Mr. Kit-ze.
Mr. Kit-ze still hesitated, but, after further reassur-
ing words from Mr. Reid, he consented to receive the
hat. Yet he did not put it on ; he turned away, hold-
A HASTY DESERTION 21
it gingerly between his thumb and one finger. Af-
ter he had gone, they found it on the doorstep, a mark
apparently made with red chalk drawn all around the
' ' The superstitious old crank ! ' ' exclaimed Clarence
in disgust; "what made him leave his hat with us?
Why didn't he take it away and destroy it, if he was
that afraid of it?"
" I think he left it as a reproach to us," said Mr.
Eeid. The eyes around him sought his inquiringly.
" It is a hint that, as the misfortune befell it here,
and he is now deprived of his hat, we should replace
it with another."
"And how will Mr. Kit-ze feel toward us, uncle, if
we do not ? ' ' asked Mallard.
" I fear not very pleasantly, for a while, at least,"
replied Mr. Eeid.
' ' Then the new hat must go to him by all means, ' '
said Mallard. " We can't afford to start off with our
sampan man in the pouts."
"No, indeed," assented Helen.
So the next day they sent Mr. Kit-ze a new hat, with
expressions of regret at what had happened, and with
the assurance that the other hat had been destroyed.
" For that is what he expects of us," Mr. Keid had
said. "He drew the red chalk mark so as to confine
the spirit within the hat, then left the hat for us to de-
stroy, together with the spirit. All pure foolishness,"
he concluded, a little emphatically. "We'll just
throw the hat aside. "
22 THE EED MIRIOK
" No, father," said Helen decisively, " we "will burn
"And: thus encourage Mr. Kit-ze in his silliness?"
" In his superstition," corrected Mr. Eeid.
"But it is all so real to him, poor man!" said
Helen. And she continued, her eyes softening : " If it
will make him feel better to know it is destroyed, isn't
it worth while?"
"Yes," assented Mallard heartily, "it is. We'll
burn the hat, my Helen. I'm sure uncle won't ob-
" Oh, no," assented Mr. Keid. " If Helen wants to
take the trouble, let her do it. ' '
A day or two later Mr. Kit-ze came again. He had
on his new hat, and was in the best of humor. Es-
pecially did his face express pleasure when Helen, car-
rying him to a spot in the yard, showed him the small
pile of ashes to which the hat had been reduced. He
stooped hurriedly, gathered them up, and, holding
them in his palms, blew his breath hard upon the mass,
scattering it to the four winds. Then he grunted with
satisfaction, and, going down on hands and knees, made
Helen a series of the most profound bows.
He had come to tell them that the sampan was ready,
but on account of the great danger of the shoals near
Seoul, they must make their arrangements to start from
Han-Kang, four miles from the city. Themselves and
their supplies could be transported thither by pony-
back. Mr. Kit-ze further informed them that he had
A HASTY DESERTION 23
secured, as both interpreter and assistant boatman, one
Mr. Cheefoo, a graduate of the government schools.
He had recently fallen upon hard ways, and was glad
enough to earn a little for himself, as well as to see
some of the world, even if it were only his own country.
Mr. Cheefoo would be sent to assist them with the load-
ing, and to guide them to Han-Kang, where Mr. Kit-ze
and the sampan would be found awaiting them.
Mr. Chefoo came a day ahead of the time set for
starting, for the supplies must be carefully packed into
bales ere they could be loaded. He had too, some sug-
gestions from Mr. Kit-ze as to what to take and how to
take it. The selection of the necessary provisions and
other supplies had cost them much thought and plan-
ning. They knew they must not overload the sampan,
as much as they might want to take some things. On
the other hand was the danger of starting out with a
too meagre supply. They finally decided on the fol-
lowing : seventy-five pounds of flour, thirty pounds of
rice, they expected to buy more of this on the way,
a half-bushel of beans, a strip or two of dried beef, a
small amount of meats in cans and of tomatoes for
' ' We can get eggs and vegetables from the country
people," said Mr. Reid, who had traveled some in the
interior districts, ' ' and there will be fish in the river to
The other supplies consisted of a brazier for charcoal,
a frying pan, saucepan, and kettle, some drinking mugs
of stoneware, plates and soup plates of tin, knives,
24 THE RED MIBIOK
forks, and spoons, the latter of wood. Mallard had
his camera, and Clarence the fine Winchester which
his cousin had presented to him. In addition, each
traveler carried a rubber coat, a pair of blankets, and
two changes of underclothing. One thing they came
near forgetting, but Mrs. Reid's forethought caused
them to include it among the stores almost at the last
minute. This was a little case of medicines.
It was an excited and happy party that rode away
from the mission house early on the following Tuesday
morning. In addition to Mr. Reid, Mallard, Helen,
Clarence, and Joyce, there were Mr. Wilburn, a young
missionary from another station, and his sister, Dorothy,
a very dear friend of Helen. Indeed, for two years
past the girls had been almost inseparable. Mr. Reid's
native assistant in the mission work and his wife were
to be the companions of Mrs. Reid and her sister during
the two weeks the party expected to be away.
They moved through the narrow streets, so narrow
that it was necessary to go in single file. Even that
was difficult at times, for, though the hour was early,
a mass of people was beginning to stir abroad. Along
each side of some of the streets ran a gutter, green
with slime and thick with all manner of putrid matter.
The low mud huts, with their queer, horse-shoe shaped
straw roofs, were set so close to this it seemed that any
one coming out of the door must fall into the slime if
he were not careful. All along the streets dogs and
children were tumbling about, sometimes rolling the
one over the other. Even the close observer would
A HASTY DESERTION 25
have found it hard to decide which was the dirtier, dog
' ' Oh, my, the dirty youngsters ! ' ' exclaimed Mallard,
as he picked his pony's way gingerly along, sometimes
finding it quite difficult to keep from riding right upon
a squirming little mass of humanity. ' ' Where are the
mothers," he continued, " to let them run so into dan-
' ' You will soon find out, Mallard, ' ' replied his uncle,
' ' that the Korean woman has her hands too full of the
major duties of washing and ironing to attend with any
degree of success to the minor one of looking after her
children. There ! do you not hear that strange rat-ta-
tat noise ? That is made by the wooden club coming
down upon the garment wrapped about its iron cylinder.
Wherever you go over Seoul, at almost any hour, day
or night, you can hear that familiar sound. It denotes
the Korean slave-wife's battle with the white clothes of
her lord and master, which must receive a certain
amount of gloss, or there will be a storm in the do-
As they came out through the massive stone arches
of the great South Gate, its lofty drum chamber with
tiled roof overhead, a new world seemed to burst upon
them. They could see plainly now the line of moun-
tains and the nearer circlet of hills, the latter flower-
crowned and sparkling like jewels in the golden light
of the sun. Brilliant, indeed, was the coloring where
the rich clusters of azaleas grew, and the tangled
masses of clematis and honeysuckles. Butterflies and
26 THE BED MIR10K
dragon- flies flitted through the air ; numerous ducks
and geese hovered along the edge of the river, now
alighting and skimming the water for a few moments,
then dipping wing to fly away. Flocks of cranes waded
in and out of the shallow places, hunting for small fish
to seize. All around was the beauty and the glory of the
spring, matchless skies, bursting flowers, and singing
birds, such a spring as makes Seoul and its surround-
ings a joy to eye and heart, never to be surpassed, al-
ways to be remembered.
They took the path along the river, and in a little
more than an hour's time had reached Han-Kang,
where they found Mr. Kit-ze and the sampan, both in
fine trim and ready to be off. Mr. Kit-ze had changed
his white clothing for his boatman's suit, which con-
sisted of a blouse and Turkish trousers of coarse blue
cotton cloth. He was very proud of his sampan, and
insisted on showing them its various fine points as well
as dwelling upon them.
"Never has such a craft gone up the waters," he
declared ; and indeed it did look workmanlike along-
side of those usually seen on Korean streams. To begin,
it had two very essential qualities it was strongly made
and it was well calked throughout. From fore to aft
it measured thirty-six feet, was seven in width at its
widest portion, and drew six to seven inches of water.
At Mr. Reid's request, Mr. Kit-ze had rigged up a
new and a more substantial roof along the ridgepole
and its supporting framework. This was composed of
thick, water-tight mats of tough grass. There "were
A HASTY DESERTION 27
also curtains of the same material that could be fas-
tened along the sides in case of rain or when the glare
of the sun was too strong. This roof was only about
five feet from the floor of the sampan, so that it was
very plain to all eyes that most of its occupants would
have to content themselves with sitting or with standing
in a stooping posture. The boat had five compart-
ments, three of them from seven to eight feet long, and
the other two only small affairs indeed. One of the
latter was in the bow of the boat and the other at the
stern. Here the boatmen stood to pole the boat during
the day, and in them they curled down to sleep at
night, each rolled in a straw mat and with the side of
the boat as a pillow.
"All hands to the stores!" announced Mr. Keid.
" The more quickly we have them in and are off the
better. The sun will be pretty warm after a while. ' '
Mr. Chefoo had brought along a young man to carry
the ponies back, and he too was anxious to begin his
return journey. So all hands set to with a will, even
Helen and Dorothy assisting ' ' like good fellows, ' ' as
Clarence expressed it.
Mr. Kit-ze, following Mr. Keid's instructions, had
previously carried aboard the sampan a supply of char-
coal and some bundles of faggots. It was only the
stores brought by the ponies that now had to be
One thing amused Mallard greatly. This was the
shape in which most of their money to be spent on the
way had to be brought, strung on cords of straw. And
THE BED MIEIOK
the amount had proved almost a full burden for one
pony, though in all it was only about twenty dollars.
What queer looking coins they were ! of copper, with
a small square hole through their center.
" 'YES, ONLY A LITTLE, FOE IT TAKES NEARLY THEEE THOUSAND
OF THEM TO MAKE A DOLLAR.' "
" This is our often abused but ever available ' cash,' "
said Mr. Reid, holding up one of the crude bits of
metal for Mallard to see. "As there are no bankers
or money changers on the way, we must take it with
A HASTY DESERTION 29
us, for it is the only coin accepted in the rural dis-
tricts. We must have a little ready money with us,"
"Oh, uncle, you call that a little?" and Mallard
pointed to the pony with his burden of coin.
"Yes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thou-
sand of them to make a dollar. ' '
Mallard recalled his uncle's words now, as he was
helping to store the coin away in what Helen and Doro-
thy had termed the sitting room of the sampan.
He had turned to address a merry remark to Helen
when he was struck by the appearance of Mr. Kit-ze.
The boatman had stopped in the midst of something he
was doing as suddenly as though he had felt the force
of an electric shock. He had thrown his head up and
was now clutching nervously at the folds of his blouse.
Almost at the moment that Mallard's eyes were di-
rected upon him he uttered a sharp little cry. It was
of sufficient compass to reach the ears of the others.
As their eyes too were turned upon him, what was the
astonishment of all to see Mr. Kit-ze the next moment
rush up the bank to where one of the ponies, with
empty saddle, was standing, and flinging himself upon
it, go galloping away like one suddenly out of his
THE LOST RECOVERED
astonishment and of
dismay followed Mr.
Kit-ze. "What can
he mean ? ' ' asked Mr.
Reid, his eyes fixed in
wonder upon the fast-
retreating form of his
boatman. ' ' He surely
hasn't deserted us ! "
"It evidently looks
that way," replied Mr.
" Now we are in a box ! " exclaimed Clarence.
' ' How are we to go on without our sampan man ? ' '
"Well, we have the sampan," remarked Mallard
cheerfully. "The only other thing now is to look
out for some one to take charge of it. ' '
"Easier said than accomplished," commented Mr.
Reid. "Besides, though Mr. Kit-ze has deserted us,
yet the sampan is his. We can't take possession with-
out his consent."
" He has forfeited his right to protest against such a
THE tlOST RECOVERED 31
j 1 '
step," declared Mr. Wilburn, "by his desertion and
breach of contract. I am for taking possession of the
sampan, engaging some one to have charge of it,
assisted by Mr. Chefoo here, then allowing Mr. Kit-ze
so much for its use. "
"But a competent sampan man is hard to find,"
said Mr. Eeid. "That was why I stuck to Mr.
" Oh, but it is too bad to lose our trip ! " exclaimed
Mr. Wilburn, ' ' especially when so much relating to our
work depends on it," and he looked wistfully at Mr.
"Yes, too bad," assented Mallard.
" Oh, we must go," declared Clarence.
Even Helen and Dorothy were for going on, that is,
if satisfactory arrangements could be made.
"But maybe Mr. Kit-ze will return," suggested
"Yes," said Mr. Chefoo, who now spoke for the
first time, "he will return." All turned to look at
him inquiringly. He had spoken very positively.
" What makes you say that ? "
' ' Because, honorable sirs, he went away as one who
will come back. There was no parting word. He will
" He didn't have sense for any parting word," com-
mented Clarence. "It seemed all taken from him."
"No," asserted Mr. Chefoo, "it was only the ex-
citement that comes when one knows there has been a
32 THE RED MIEIOK
" ' A loss ' ! " echoed Clarence.
" Yes ; Mr. Kit-ze has either lost something of very
great value, for which he has now gone to make search,
or else he has forgotten something that he has gone to
bring. It is one or the other as you will in time dis-
cover, son of the honorable teacher."
" But why act in that demented way ? Couldn't he
have explained to us, and then gone after it in a re-
spectable fashion ? "
" It was something by which he set so great a store,
youthful sir, that he was overcome by what its loss
signified to him. I should say," continued Mr. Chefoo,
" that it is something without which he could not pro-
ceed, or without which he "
Here Mr. Chefoo paused.
"Well?" asked Clarence.
" Without which he would fear to go on."
" I see ! " exclaimed Mr. Eeid. " It was "
"Let me finish, father," cried Clarence. "It was
the red miriok. That old crank has either left it or
lost it. Now we must be tied up here waiting his
. "Yes," said Mr. Reid in a disgusted manner, "it
was the red miriolc that carried him off in that de-
mented way ; I am sure of it. But don't call him a
crank so boldly, Clarence. It would offend him should
he hear it."
"Well, what else is he? It is just too bad to be
deserted in this way and for such silliness. Oh, I wish
that the red miriolc was in the bottom of the river."
THE LOST KECOVERED 33
"Then, we'd never get Mr. Kit-ze to proceed,"
assured Mr. Wilburn, who by this time had heard the
story of the red miriok; " or at least not until its coun-
terpart was procured. But we can't stay here," he
continued. " We must, at least, try getting on to the
next village. There Mr. Kit-ze can join us. We'll
leave word for him. This is a very objectionable local-
ity for more reasons than one, and the sooner we move
away from it the better."
In the meanwhile a large crowd had gathered, both
on the river bank and in the shallow water surround-
ing the sampan. All were agape with curiosity. It is
a well-known saying in Korea, and one the truth of
which travelers have often proved, that if you move
on, very little comment is excited ; but if you stand
still and appear to be engaged in anything, or even to
be looking at an object, curiosity of the most intense
kind is aroused. It takes but a minute or two then for
the crowd to gather around you, each individual mem-
ber thereof following anxiously the glance of your eye
and hanging with almost breathless intent upon every
movement of hand or leg.
There were women and children in the crowd as well
as men. The former were so overcome by their curios-
ity that they had for the time forgotten to keep their
long, green coats close up about their eyes, which is the
custom when women are abroad in Korea. They now
hung loosely about their necks, the long, wide sleeves
that are rarely used swinging over their shoulders.
An old woman with much vigor of speech offered
34 THE RED MI&IOR
them barley sugar for sale. She was very dirty, and
her wares looked as uninviting as herself. But feeling
sorry for her, Helen invested quite liberally in the bar-
ley sugar, immediately bestowing it upon a little group
of open-mouthed children who stood near. In some
way the old woman had caught a part, at least, of the
situation. She seemed to comprehend that they were
at a loss whether to go on or to stay. In return for
Helen's graciousness she came to the rescue by suggest-
ing that they send for a mutang (sorceress) who lived
near. She would come with her drum and cymbals,
her wand and divination box, 1 and in a little while she
could tell them what to do.
The sun was now climbing nearer and nearer the
meridian, and its rays were growing unpleasantly warm.
More than an hour had been wasted since the loading
of the sampan. They had burned the bridge behind
them, as the saying is, by sending the man back to the
city with the ponies. There was nothing now but to
go on, even if they had to turn back in the midst of
Mr. Chefoo was the good fairy that came to the res-
cue. He seemed to regret Mr. Kit-ze's behavior
keenly, and to be deeply sympathetic with the sampan
party in its desire so plainly expressed to be off on the
journey. He was a big, good-natured fellow, strong
and hearty looking, with a clear eye and with much
1 A box in which are carried three or more coins with characters
stamped upon them. The coins are cast upward three times, falling
again into the box. The combination of characters each time gives
the mutang her clue to the divination or prediction.
THE LOST KECOVERED 35
intelligence expressed upon his face. He had too, a
pretty fair scope of English, \vhich made his attend-
ance all the more satisfactory and agreeable.
Mr. Kit-ze, he continued to assure them, would re-
turn. He felt certain of it. They "would leave word
for him and proceed to the next town, since this one
was so objectionable with its foul smells and its rather
rough-looking population. The first step then, was to
hire a man to help him pole, as he felt certain he, Mr.
Chefoo, could direct the movements of the sampan up
to the next village. There were no rapids of any con-
siderable danger in the way.
"All right, Mr. Chefoo," said Mr. Reid. "Go
ahead and hire your man, but be sure he is one on
whom we can rely."
"I'll have a care to that, honorable teacher," as-
sured Mr. Chefoo.
The first man approached declared that he couldn't
go, as his wife needed him to sit and watch her while she
washed the clothes. The second one said he must first
ask his mother and, as she lived two villages away, they
must wait until the following morning ere he could
give them his answer. The third wished to know if he
would be permitted to take as many as seven suits of
clothes with him, as he could do with no less ; also if
provision would be made for their washing and iron-
ing along the way. On being assured that no such
concession could be granted he went away much ag-
Another said he would gladly attend them as their
36 THE EED MIRIOK
poleman if they would promise not to tie up anywhere
along the bank where there were tigers, or even where
tigers were known to have been on the surrounding
hills. As they could give no such promise with the
prospect of fulfilling it, he too had to be dismissed
without an engagement. He then tried to drive a sale
with them of two tiger bones at three hundred ' ' cash ' '
each, warranted to give strength and courage. As
they hadn't the faith he had in the efficacy of the
commodity, the purchase was declined. Another hour
and more slipped by in this way.
Things were growing lively, if they were somewhat
monotonous, for a great crowd was now surging about
Mr. Chefoo, Mr. Keid, and Mr. Wilburn. The boat-
man had them with him for the purpose of consulta-
tion. To add to the hubbub a string of oxen and
their drivers on their way to the city, the backs of the
oxen piled with mountains of brushwood, had drawn
near the men, the drivers overcome by curiosity at the
sight of the crowd. Between their yells and shouts to
the oxen and their noisy salutations passed to those
they knew, there was a babel indeed.
In the very midst of these sounds came a sudden
cry, sufficiently loud and prolonged to attract the
attention of many. While the bargaining with the
would-be polemen went on, the young people had
gathered within the sitting room of the sampan, that
is, all with the exception of Clarence. He had
stretched himself along the stern of the boat. His
head was lying on his hand upheld by the elbow.
THE LOST EECOVEKED 37
Thus it was considerably elevated, and thus he had a
fair view of the water all around the sampan.
The Han is often called the Eiver of Golden Sands.
It is a clear, bright stream, its bed covered with thick
layers of white sand. Along this sand particles of
golden-hued gravel sparkle in the sunlight as though
they were the pure metal itself. In many places, even
of considerable depth, the bottom of the river is
plainly seen. Where the sampan lay there was only
the depth of about two feet of water. This had for a
time been stirred into some degree of murkiness by the
feet of those who pressed curiously about the sampan.
But as the crowd had now withdrawn to the bank,
where Mr. Ghefoo bargained with the polemen, the
river had cleared.
As Clarence lay along the stern of the boat glancing
down into the water, his attention was suddenly attrac-
ted by something that rested at the top of a little hil-
lock of sand. First its shape, then its color arrested
his gaze. The next moment there came that wild
shout from him, a compromise between a station-mas-
ter's train call and an Indian warwhoop. Then those
whose attention was now riveted upon him saw him
hastily throw off his coat, his shoes and stockings and,
quickly rolling up sleeves and trousers, spring into the
water. An instant later he held up something in his
hand, his shirt sleeve dripping with the water.
" The red miriok ! " he cried. " See ! Mr. Kit-ze
must have dropped it as he leaned over packing the
38 THE EEC MIEIOK
Yes, it was the red miriok.
" Oh, its eyes are shinier than ever ! " cried Joyce.
"Guess that's cause the water washed 'em. It's the
"YES, IT WAS THE RED MIEIOK! "
same horrid, ugly thing I've seen Mr. Kit-ze pressing
in his hands."
"Oh," said Helen, "if Mr. Kit-ze could only
know ! " Even as she spoke, Mr. Kit-ze was seen com-
ing rapidly toward the river.
r R. KIT-ZE had left the
pony in town and now
came on at a rapid
dog-trot. He was cov-
ered with dust and
perspiration, and his
hair, which had been
shaken from its knot,
was nowpartly hanging
in much disorder down
his back. When he
had first rushed away,
it had been with the thought that the miriolc had been
left at home, that it had in all probability dropped
from his clothing as he slept. But as a rigid search
failed to reveal it, he at length came to the conclu-
sion that he had dropped it in or near the river while
helping to load the sampan. He had stooped over
many times, he knew. Why hadn't he thought of
that ere coming away? Yes, the first search ought,
by all means, to have been made in and around the
sampan. But then he had been so excited over his
loss he hadn't taken the time to reason about it at all.
40 THE RED MIEIOK
Now he would nasten back to the boat and resume
there the search for the miriok. Oh, he must find it,
or failing, secure another like it. He could not think
of going on the journey without his miriok, for would
not disaster be sure to befall him if he did ? But where
was such another as this miriok to be had ? As he re-
called with what difficulty this one had been secured,
Mr. Kit-ze grew more and more excited over his loss.
Oh, he must return to the river at once ! as there was a
chance that he had dropped the miriok there.
Thus Mr. Kit-ze, coming in sight of the sampan, saw
Clarence standing in the water and holding something
at arm's length over which all were exclaiming. It
took only a steady glance to show him what it was.
The next moment, Avith a ringing cry, he endeavored
to increase his pace, lost his footing, and went rolling
doAvn the slope, stopping just at the water's edge. It
was Helen who reached him as he regained his feet.
She had taken the miriok from Clarence, and was holding
it toward Mr. Kit-ze, saying in her softest, gentlest tones:
" Here, Mr. Kit-ze, is something of yours that Clar-
ence has found in the river. We were so sorry when
we knew you had lost it, and are glad now that it can
be returned to you. ' '
With a little cry of delight he took the miriok from
her, clasped it against his breast, prostrating himself
before her almost to the ground. This he did the second
and even the third time.
The sudden coming of Mr. Kit-ze, his mishap, and
the scene that followed between him and Helen on the
A STOWAWAY 41
river bank had formed considerable of a diversion for a
part of the crowd. Even the excitement of Mr. Che-
foo's still unsatisfactory interviews with the polemen
had, for a time, paled before this newer and greater
one. Ere she could extricate herself Helen was sur-
rounded by quite a rabble. Many faces were pressing
up about her, but there was one that attracted her at-
tention in such a way that it startled her. It was a
somewhat worn and haggard face, with restless, piercing
eyes, and a nervous twitching of the lips that impressed
itself upon Helen the moment she saw it. She noticed
that its owner's gaze soon left her face and fixed itself
in the direction of Mr. Kit-ze. The eyes had now a
startled look. They were fastened upon the miriok that
Mr. Kit-ze was still holding against his breast, but in
such a way that it showed plainly. Helen noted this
riveted gaze, as she also saw his lips moving. By this
time her position had become very unpleasant. She
felt too, a little chill of fear as she looked at this man.
Was his mind upset? However, Mr. Kit-ze, having
recovered his senses along with his mirioJc, was equal to
the emergency. He safely conducted her out of the
surging crowd and to the sampan.
Mr. Eeid and Mr. Wilburn, with Mr. Chefoo, being
informed of the return of Mr. Kit-ze, joined them as
rapidly as they could in view of the crowd that bore
them company at the sampan. Considerable satisfaction
was expressed at the finding of the miriok, though the
two missionaries some hours later expressed themselves
quite vigorously to each other on the subject.
42 THE RED MIRIOK
Mr. Kit-ze, who had by this time profusely apologized
for his sudden departure, was as anxious as the others
to be off. There was no need to delay another moment,
he assured them. He motioned to Mr. Chefoo to take
his place in the stern, while he, grasping his long pole,
took a similar position in the bow.
' ' Hurrah ! ' ' cried Joyce, ' ' we are off at last. ' '
He stood up in his delight, clapping his hands and,
as the boat was given a sudden turn at that moment, he
assuredly would have tumbled over the side into the
river had not Mallard caught him.
' ' Better keep your eye on the polemen hereafter, ' '
Clarence advised him, "ere you try any acrobatic per-
formances on a sampan."
They found some difficulty in getting away from the
crowd, many of whom followed the sampan for some
distance into the water. These Mallard finally turned
back by the happy thought carried into execution of
tossing a handful of "cash" toward the shore. The
last they saw of the village was the scrambling forms in
the water, and the line of low hovels, built of mud-
smeared wattle, with no vestige of windows and with
their black smokeholes plainly denned.
Yes, they were off at last, really afloat on the glorious
Han, the river ,of Korea, which, in two branches, sweeps
almost across the peninsula, forming two great water-
ways, navigable for flat-bottomed craft for more than
two hundred miles.
They found the river teeming with moving life. In
addition to the flatboats there were many junks passing
A STOWAWAY 43
back and forth, for the Han is the great artery of com-
merce for the eastern provinces. Those going into the
city were laden with produce, pottery, bundles of fag-
gots for firewood, and the like, Avhile those coming out
held cargoes of merchandise, both home and foreign,
and salt from the seacoast.
Some of these junks were very old. They carried pro-
digious sails, despite their rotten timbers, and looked as
though they might turn over at any moment. The most
of them creaked horribly, and when our friends in the
sampan heard one for the first time, they thought for a
moment it was some great beast in terrible pain. When
they found out their mistake a hearty laugh went
Though the sun was now quite high, and its rays very
warm, yet Mr. Kit-ze knew the stream so well that he
could keep near to the bank. Thus for much of the way
they had the shade from the trees and from the over-
hanging bluffs. They found their curtains too, much
protection. Their little sitting room was very cozy and
comfortable. Helen had brought some oilcloth matting
for the floor of the sampan, and a little oil stove that
they could light when the air was damp and disagree-
able. Here too were cushions, one or two folding
chairs, and the bedding which the girls were to use at
night, together with the oilskin cases in which they
kept their clothing, a small supply of books, writing
materials, etc. In the next compartment forward Mr.
Reid and Mr. Wilburn had stored their effects, as they
were to occupy it jointly at night. Here all would dine
44 THE BED MIBIOK.
when they were afloat ; here too, the service of morn-
ing and evening prayer would be held. The three
boys slept and kept their effects in the compartment
just behind that of the girls. The straw roof along
the ridgepole extended over all, even for a part of the
way over the small, boxlike quarters of the two boat-
men. In addition our party was provided with oil-
cloths for the better protection of the stores, and with
' ' This is fine, even finer than sailing on the Hudson
at home ! ' ' declared Dorothy, her eyes sparkling with
' ' Or the noble Mississippi, down in our Southland, ' '
added Helen. " How pleasant this is ! Oh, I had
no idea it could be so delightful ! "
" You just wait, my sister, until you strike some of
the rapids," admonished Clarence, his face taking on a
very solemn expression, " and begin to roll about like
loose apples in a cart, or find your feet hanging where
your head ought to be. Then I'm no prophet if you
don't completely change your form of expression. ' '
" Oh, for shame ! " cried both girls in a breath.
"I think it is real mean of you," declared Helen,
" to try to spoil our enjoyment of the present by intro-
ducing into it the suggestion of those terrible things
that await us. As for myself, I believe in enjoying
what is sweet and good while we have it, without bor-
rowing trouble with reference to what is in the future. ' '
"A philosophy in which I heartily agree," said
A STOWAWAY 45
There was indeed much to make the trip delightful,
for the beauties of the spring were all around them, in
the sky, in the water, in the green knolls overhanging
the river. The stream continued to be quite shallow.
At some places it gurgled over the rocks only a foot or
so below the sampan. They came now and then to
where the cattle waded knee deep in the lush grasses.
These turned to view them in mild-eyed astonishment
as they passed by chatting and laughing, then went on
with their grazing. Flocks of mandarin ducks and
wild geese fleAV by ; some of the latter even swam close
to -the sampan. There were too, numbers of the im-
perial crane, and once in a while a pink ibis wading
along the edge of a rice field.
Clarence took his gun to shoot one of these, but
Helen and Dorothy began to beg for its life. " We
don't want to eat it, so why destroy it? " asked Helen.
"Oh, wouldn't you girls like a wing each for your
hats? " asked Clarence a little mischievously.
"Oh, no indeed," declared Dorothy. "No bird
wing for me ! You know that well enough, Master
Clarence," and she looked at him reprovingly.
"Well, the truth is," confessed Clarence, "I want
it for my cabinet. I know a young Japanese in Seoul
who has promised to show me how to stuff all I bring
back. In the meantime he has taught me how to pre-
serve them while on the trip. ' '
" If you must do it then in in the cause of science,"
and here Helen looked at him quizzingly, "wait until
we can't see you commit the murder, won't you ? "
46 THE BED MIEIOK
' ' All right, ' ' assented Clarence cheerfully. ' ' But
see here, sister," with earnest protest, "don't call it
murder. ' '
"Well, the cruelty of sport then," corrected Helen.
At that moment a shout from Joyce attracted their
attention. "Oh, look at the pheasants!" he cried.
' ' Quick ! Clarence, I know you can shoot one or more
of them if you try."
Sure enough, there were the pheasants right along
the edge of the rice field, fine, fat fellows, and many
"Be careful," warned Mr. Keid. "Examine the
surroundings well before you fire. There might be
some one near. ' '
Assured that there was not, Clarence raised his gun.
"Beg pardon, girls," he said slyly, as he adjusted it
to his shoulder. "Pheasants are so good to eat. "
They gave a little exclamation, then quickly covered
both eyes and ears. The next moment a report rang
out, followed instantly by another. When the smoke
cleared away five of the birds were seen in their last
" Now, how are we to get them? " asked Mallard.
"Why, sure enough, I didn't think of that ! " ex-
claimed Clarence in dismay. "We can't carry the
sampan close enough, that's certain."
Mr. Chefoo was now seen throwing off his sandals
and rolling up his pantaloons, while Mr. Kit-ze, hold-
ing the sampan steady by means of his long pole, was
giving him some directions. The next moment Mr.
Chefoo sprang over the side of the sampan and into the
water. He slipped once or twice as he was trying to
make headway over the rocks, and two or three times
HE BEGAN TO SHAKE HIM VIGOROUSLY.
also, he was seen to mire ; but notwithstanding these
difficulties he reached the birds all right, and was soon re-
turning with them. As he came again to the side of the
sampan it was toward the compartment occupied by the
boys, the one in the rear of that in which all had been
48 THE BED MIRIOK
sitting since the boat left Han-Kang. He placed his
hand upon the side of the boat to vault upward, but as
he did so a quick exclamation escaped him, which the
next moment changed to a decided whoop as Mr. Che-
foo landed full in the compartment. A second or so
later what was the astonishment of all when he dragged
into view by the neck of his blouse a man, and began
to shake him vigorously. To Helen was given some-
thing more than astonishment. Her heart leaped up,
then almost ceased to beat. For the face exposed to
view by Mr. Chefoo was the same she had seen on the
river bank at Han-Kang with the glittering eyes fixed
upon the red mirioJc Mr. Kit-ze held.
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE
|HE man made no effort
to resist Mr. Che-
foo, neither did he
offer a word of
protest, but stood
silent and sullen,
his lean face leaner
than ever in its
side view, his eyes
half closed and
gazing steadily downward.
" The rogue ! " cried Mr. Wilburn. " He was there
for no good purpose. Come, sir, what have you to say
for yourself? "
But still the culprit made no answer. He only raised
his eyes and let them sweep past Mr. Wilburn, past
them all to Mr. Kit-ze, and rest there with a deep and
"Speak to him, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Eeid.
"Find out what was his object in concealing himself
in the sampan. It may be," he continued charitably,
" that he wanted to steal a ride to one of the villages."
But Mr. Kit-ze, instead of obeying this request,
50 THE EED MIKIOK
shifted himself a little farther away from the man, and
seemed to be intent on something in the river.
" I think Mr. Kit-ze doesn't want to get mixed up
in any trouble," said Mr. Wilburn in an undertone.
' ' He probably fears it may end in his having to appear
before a magistrate. That always means a fine, you
know, whether one is in the right or the wrong. It is
evident, brother, that we must adjust this matter our-
selves with Mr. Chefoo's help, since Mr. Kit-ze plainly
doesn't want to take a hand in it. ' '
But neither threats nor persuasions could elicit a
word of reply from the man. Even Mr. Chefoo's fine
"Can he be deaf and dumb?" asked Mr. Reid
" No, father, he is not," replied Helen positively.
All eyes were now quickly turned to her, astonish-
ment plainly written on the faces.
" Why, my daughter, how do you know ? "
" Because, father, I saw him in the crowd that sur-
rounded me for a few moments on the bank of the river
at.Han-Kang. I distinctly heard him talking to him-
self, though I could not understand the words. I
thought at the time," she continued, "from the way in
which he regarded Mr. Kit-ze, that they might be ac-
As Helen spoke these last words, she turned her head
so as to get a view of Mr. Kit-ze, but he still persist-
ently kept his face turned away, while he seemed to be
making aimless search in the river with his pole. He
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 51
was assuredly doing nothing toward the progress of the
boat, since that still remained stationary in the little
rocky inlet toward which he had dexterously steered it
when Mr. Chefoo had started for the birds.
Desiring that he should understand what Helen had
suggested, Mr. Reid repeated it to him. The man was
no acquaintance of his, Mr. Kit-ze emphatically declared.
" I think we had better pitch him into the river,"
said Mr. Chefoo, " and leave him to get out as best he
Yes, ' ' said Clarence, ' ' he deserves a ducking, if
"No, we won't be so cruel as that," Mr. Reid re-
plied, "although he may have been after no good.
We'll go ashore at the next village and leave him."
"But first," said Clarence, "hadn't you better
search him ? He may have taken something of value. ' '
' ' Yes, uncle, ' ' said Mallard, ' ' we ought to do that. ' '
To this both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn consented ;
but, though close investigation was made, nothing was
found on the man, nothing, at least, to which they could
Mr. Reid gave the signal for the sampan to be headed
again up the river. In the meanwhile, Clarence and
Mallard kept watch upon the man, who had now as-
sumed a squatting posture upon the floor of the sam-
pan. To their surprise he began to mutter to himself.
But even to Mr. Chefoo the words were unintelligible ;
all except the part of one sentence. In this Mr. Che-
foo said had occurred the words, ' ' Marble Pagoda, ' '
52 THE RED MIRIOK
but he was evidently still as much mystified as the
The village to which they soon came was one of con-
siderable size, picturesquely situated in the midst of
chestnut groves. There were too, many beautiful
clumps of the umbrella pine over which vines of red
and white roses luxuriantly abloom were running riot.
A curious crowd swarmed around them at the land-
ing. There were many in it who had never seen a for-
eigner. The soft hair and white skins of our friends
called forth the most intense curiosity. Ridiculous too,
were some of the comments. Question after question
was directed to them. Some of these Mr. Chefoo an-
swered. To others he paid no attention.
Who were they ? Whence had they come ? Were
their families respectable ? Did their ancestors occupy
tombs on the hillside ? Could they take off their eyes
and pull out their teeth as it had been reported that
they could? All of these and many more came in
When it was learned that they wanted to put a man
ashore a great hue and cry was at once raised, and it
was positively declared that this could not be done until
the magistrate was seen and consulted. Thereupon, the
magistrate's runners, six in number, appeared and as-
sumed control of their movements. These runners
were gorgeous in light blue coats, wide pantaloons of
white, and big hats with red tassels.
Yes, the magistrate must be seen, they declared.
Nothing else would do. In a rash moment Mr. Reid
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 53
consented to see the magistrate. It is safe to say that
had he known the result he would at once have headed
his sampan off up the river again even with its objec-
It was finally arranged that Mr. Eeid, in company
with Mr. Chefoo and the stowaway, should attend upon
the magistrate while the others remained with the sam-
pan. At the last moment Clarence begged to accom-
pany his father, and consent was finally given. Mr.
Eeid could see no reason why the stowaway should be
carried along with them, as he had really done nothing
for which he could be punished. Their only desire was
to leave him ashore. But the runners persisted that
it was necessary that he too should go before the jus-
The magistrate was seated on the floor of a small
platform over which matting was spread. Around
him, also squatting on their heels, were two or three
of his assistants. The chief official had on a robe of
deep blue silk, slashed to the waist at intervals, and
with pipings of orange silk introduced between. Only
a small portion of his crimson trousers was showing.
On his head was perched a little hat of glazed horse-
hair ornamented with crimson tassels.
Mr. Eeid came into the room and very politely bowed
to the magistrate, while Chefoo prostrated himself, as
did the runners. Clarence, independent young Ameri-
can that he was, contented himself with saying, ' ' Good
day, sir, ' ' then began to use his eyes to their fullest ex-
THE BED MIKIOK
The magistrate took no notice of their presence. He
merely remarked in a high key to his associates that
CHEFOO PROSTBATED HIMSELF TO THE MAGISTRATE.
foreigners were really demons, and that he couldn't see
why they had ever been allowed in the country. As
to himself, he had felt many times like setting up again,
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 55
on his own responsibility, the tablets which, prior to
the treaty, had declared that all foreigners were cut-
throats and robbers, and should be killed on sight. 1
Each of these sentences Mr. Chefoo cheerfully trans-
lated to Mr. Eeid.
"The old barbarian," declared Clarence. "I feel
like giving him a shaking. ' '
The magistrate now deigned to become aware of their
presence. ' ' Who are these who have dared to ap-
proach me? " he asked in a big, off-hand way, but all
the while he was nervously regarding Mr. Keid and
Clarence. Foreigners, he knew from experience, were
not always the chicken-hearted people they were de-
clared to be.
The runners told him.
"Well, what is you name, and whence do your
come? " was asked of Mr. Reid.
The replies came readily.
"How old are you? Has your father gone and
left you ? and was he an honorable man ? ' '
To each of these, in turn, was given a cheerful re-
' ' Well, what are you doing in the country, anyhow ?
Do they know you are away ? Do you get a salary ?
How much is it ? "
After all these queries and many more had been
answered to the magistrate's satisfaction, he deigned to
1 Before the treaty of Korea with the United States, whi]e yet it was
known as the Hermit Nation, tablets bearing inscriptions similar to that
quoted by the magistrate were placed at intervals throughout the coun-
56 THE BED MIRIOK
hear the case that had been brought before him. When
each detail had been gone over again and again, the
magistrate put his head to one side, looked as wise as
an owl for a few moments, and then proceeded to de-
liver himself of his decision.
By paying five Japanese yen (a yen is one dollar),
the man could be left ashore ; but none of the rest
could depart until he, the magistrate, visited the sam-
pan and inspected its contents. He further added that
he might come that evening if business permitted. If
it did not, he would wait until morning. In the mean-
time they were to remain tied up where they were un-
der the supervision of the runners.
On Mr. Reid's protesting against the injustice of
having to pay such an amount for the mere privilege of
putting a native ashore who had concealed himself in
his sampan, the magistrate retorted by assuring him
that he would then charge him, the missionary, that
amount for having come ashore himself without first
having communicated with him, the magistrate. Mr.
Reid knew very well that such a proceeding was far
from legal, as he had his passport which he had shown,
but at the same time he felt it would be better for many
reasons to pay the amount than to contest the point.
Fortunately, Mr. Reid had provided himself with a
few of these valuable Japanese coins, which he carried
on his person ; otherwise he would have been subjected
to the further delay of sending to the sampan, as the
magistrate at once let it be understood that he could
not depart until the amount was in hand.
BEFOEE THE MAGISTRATE 57
On their return to the sampan they found that the
others too, had been having trials in their absence.
The curiosity of the crowd had now become almost
unendurable. Men, women, and children had even
climbed upon the sampan. They had inspected every-
thing. The two girls had called forth the deepest ex-
citement and curiosity. It was their hair that caused
the most comment, especially Helen's ; it Avas so soft
and bright. For Helen's hair, though her eyes were
dark, Avas of a light chestnut color. One Avoman had
even gone so far as to offer a dozen eggs for a piece of
it. Then she Avanted to handle it, but this Helen de-
clined. The Avoman's eyes and her manner made her
nervous. But Dorothy, more assured than Helen,
took hers from its fastenings, shaking it about her
shoulders, then stood beyond reach of the outstretched
hands, laughing merrily at the expressions of counte-
nance and the some\vhat Avild gesticulations.
"Oh, Dorothy, how can you do that?" remon-
" If it gives the poor things any enjoyment, I don't
mind, ' ' replied Dorothy.
"But don't you see that the sight of it that way ex-
cites them the more? "
"Oh, it's good asashoAV," declared Joyce, almost
shouting out in his delight. " Don't you mind sister,
Things were in this hub-bub when Mr. Keid, Clar-
ence, and the runners appeared. Mr. Eeid joined in
the effort to induce the people to withdraw from the
58 THE BED MIEIOK
sampan, but without success. Then the thought struck
him that he wonld appeal to the runners. It is safe to
say he hadn't the least conception of the result or,
much as he wanted to get rid of the people, he would
The runners at once charged pell-mell upon the surg-
ing crowd, shouting and yelling as though they were
seeking to stampede a herd of cattle. Big hats, green
coats, topknots, and wide trousers were soon jumbled
together in a series of kaleidoscopic flashes, then quiet
reigned once more around the sampan. The runners
had done them this much good, if no more.
The sun had almost disappeared behind the neigh-
boring hills, and the night, traveling fast in that region,
would soon be upon them. Still the magistrate had
not appeared. They felt now that he would not come
until morning. They were much provoked. Mr.
Kit-ze especially showed displeasure. He had planned
to reach the next town ere tying up for the night.
There had already been too much delay at Han-Kang.
He felt considerable compunction over this, and had
been doing his best ever since to make up for lost time,
and now felt thoroughly exasperated over this unneces-
sary detention. But there was no other course save to
await the magistrate's pleasure.
Supper eaten, with curious eyes all around watching
their every movement, Mr. Reid prepared for the even-
ing service. "We will go ashore," he said to Mr.
Wilburn, "and take Mr. Chefoo. The others can
join in from the sampan."
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 59
They had no trouble to gather the people about
them. Great was the wonder that spread as the serv-
ices proceeded. A hymn was sung, a prayer made,
a Bible lesson read, which Mr. Chefoo explained.
Then with Mr. Chefoo still as interpreter, Mr. Keid
began to speak to them. His words were about Jesus,
our one ever -loving, steadfast friend. Exclamations of
surprise, then of interest, began to be heard. " Could
it be possible," they asked each other, " that there was
One in the world who could love as this one loved?
who could and did give his friendship ' without money
and without price ' ? "
As Mr. Reid ceased speaking, an old man approached
him. Would the honorable teacher tell him again the
name of this wonderful Friend ? When told he kept
repeating it over and over. Other touching incidents
occurred. Many questions were asked. When Mr.
Reid lay down to sleep that night, it was with the
happy feeling that more than a passing impression had
been made upon some hearts, as it was also with the
determination that he would come again to break the
bread of life to these hungry souls.
Even when the crowd had left the sampan, scattered
by the impetuosity of the runners, Helen still felt ner-
vous. The persistency with which the women had
pressed about Dorothy and herself, their incoherent
words, burning glances, and fierce gestures had wrought
her up to a high pitch of excitement. It was a long
while ere she could go to sleep, even though her father
assured her that it was to the interest of the runners to
60 THE KED MIEIOK
keep close watch upon the sampan. When at last
Helen fell into slumber, it was to be disturbed by un-
pleasant dreams. In the midst of one of these she
awakened with a start. She surely was conscious now,
and what a moment of horror it was ! for a rough
hand was feeling its way along the meshes of her hair,
a voice she knew from both tone and accent was no
friendly one, was muttering in a manner that made her
heart almost stop its beating.
A FRIENDLY HAIL
ELEN'S first impulse was
to scream, but with a
great effort she con-
trolled herself. Then,
reaching up quickly,
she grasped the hand
between both of her
own, holding on to it
there was a frightened
exclamation, and a vio-
lent movement on the
other side of the straw curtain almost against which
Helen's head lay. The next moment, the hand was
wrenched away, and she heard a heavy splash in the
water. Peering out through the opening between the
curtains, she saw two Korean women moving away from
the sampan. Thus she knew her midnight fright had
been caused not through any evil intention but from
the exercise of pure curiosity. They had but carried
into effect the desire for a closer inspection of her hair.
So soundly did the other occupants of the sampan
sleep that none of them were aroused by this incident,
62 THE BED MIRIOK
not even Dorothy. Thus it was an astonishing piece
of news to them when Helen told it on the following
Dorothy was overcome by admiration for Helen's
coolness. " Helen, are you sure you didn't scream,
not the least little bit ? Oh, I never could have taken
it as you did," and she drew her breath quickly.
Others besides Dorothy had words of praise for Helen's
fortitude. ' ' Nine girls out of ten would have gone
into hysterics," declared Clarence.
"Put the percentage lower," warned Dorothy,
shaking her fist at him in well-feigned indignation.
" Well, seven out often then."
" Oh, that is much better."
It was long after breakfast when the magistrate con-
descended to appear. Then he kept them waiting an
hour or more through his insatiable curiosity, for he
must needs inspect everything in the boat, even to the
faggots and the chicken coop. But at last they were
off. They had been afraid that the man might attach
himself to them again ere they left the village. How-
ever, up to the time of pushing off, they had seen
nothing of him. He had been dropped on the way
from the magistrate's the evening before, and evidently
that was the last of him.
As they went along now, Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn
were discussing the event, as well as the man's proba-
ble meaning when he had muttered the words ' ' Marble
Pagoda." Both missionaries knew of the old Marble
Pagoda in Seoul, one of the curiosities of the place,
A FRIENDLY HAIL 63
though, strange to say, not many seemed to care to go
about it. The natives especially shunned it, that is, a
large percentage of them did. They declared that it
was filled with demons and haunted by all kinds of evil
spirits. It stood in one of the foulest parts of the city,
just back of a narrow alley, and all around it were
clustered wretched-looking hovels. It was said to be
more than seven centuries old. It had been originally
thirteen stories, but during the Japanese invasion of
three centuries before, three stories had been taken off.
Many of the chambers contained the richest carvings,
especially that known as the room of the Five Hundred
Disciples. That had the images of many of the Hindu
. "I understand," said Mr. Wilburn, "that several
bits of detached carving, some of them representing
deities, and others the various stages of the progress of
Buddha toward Nirvana, or the Buddhist heaven, have
been found in the old pagoda up to a time within re-
cent years. There is the story, not very old, of the
young assistant of one of the Buddhist priests at a
monastery in the mountains, who nearly forfeited his
life by stealing one of the images that had been brought
from the pagoda, a very rare and valuable one, by the
way. But he escaped by the narrowest chance, though
the priest hunted and hunted him for a long time, and
may be doing it yet, for all I know."
" What a fortunate thing for our missionary labors,"
remarked Mr. Eeid, "that Buddhism was long ago
abolished throughout the kingdom, and only a little
64 THE EED MIRIOK
colony of the priests allowed here and there in remote
"Ah, my brother, but there are the horrors of
demon worship with which to contend, and the stonelike
barriers of ancestral worship to break away. The for-
mer is as bad as Buddhism, where it has taken deep
" As it has in our sampan man here," observed Mr.
Keid with a sigh. " Oh, if I could only see some im-
pression made on him by our teachings, some little in-
clination toward the truth as it is alone found in the
pure gospel of Jesus."
" Do not despair. He may turn to the better way
in time. It seemed to me during the services last even-
ing that he listened more intently than I had ever seen
him. He seemed to be impressed too, by the questions
that were asked, especially by the earnest ones of the
' ' Oh, but he is so persistent in his devotions to that
wretched little image he has. Only this morning I saw
him fondling it. Sometimes I feel like taking it from
him and pitching it far out into the stream. ' '
"Oh but, father," said Helen earnestly, now join-
ing the conversation because she felt that she must,
" that would not be best, believe me."
"But how are we to teach them a better worship
until we take their miserable idols from them? "
" Oh, father, we mustn't tear down to build up. If
a man were living in an old and insecure house, we
wouldn't pull it down over him, for fear of the damage
A FKIENDLY HAIL 65
it would do. If we were his true benefactors, we would
simply invite him away from the old and into a better
' ' Well said ! ' ' declared Mr. Wilburn, his eyes
shining. " You are a true reasoner, Miss Helen."
"But so long as they have these horrid images that
they believe can counteract the evil effect of the demons,
they will go on worshiping them. We must get them
" But not by compulsion, father."
"How then, Helen?"
" By love." She reached out and took his hand as
she said the words, and began to pat it softly. Her
lips trembled but her eyes met his bravely.
"Yes, my dear, yes, I know. When the heart is
touched, love is the thing then with which to win them.
But you can't pelt a stone wall with cotton, Helen, and
hope to make any impression."
' ' But, my father, if cannon were used, what would
be the result? Only devastation. We can't drive
these poor things away from their idols. We must
"A woman's way, Helen. But, my daughter, you
are doubtless right," he said a moment later. " I get
so provoked at their persistency, their blind infatuation,
I feel that I must use force, or at least warn them of
God's wrath if they persist in their idolatry."
"Tell them of God's love ever waiting to receive
them, you mean, father ? ' '
"Yes, of God's love," repeated Mr. Wilburn, his
66 THE RED MIRIOK
eyes moistening as he looked at Helen, " the warm sun-
light, gentle yet powerful, the one agent that, using no
force, yet accomplishes what force cannot."
They made pleasant progress all that day and the
next. The views of the river and from the river grew
more and more picturesque. They had now passed
beyond the range of hills on the highest point of which
stood the fortress of Nam Han, with its garrison of
Korean soldiers. The river had grown broader and its
banks lower. They passed many beautiful islands and
had more than one experience with rapids. While
navigating these, Mr. Keid had insisted on the girls'
going ashore attended by Mallard and Mr. Wilburn.
This they did, joining the sampan a mile or so above
after some rather exciting adventures with the natives.
However, as there was no worse spirit displayed than
that of curiosity, they suffered more annoyance than
Through a considerable part of that third afternoon
they moved along in sight of several small villages in-
habited by woodcutters and charcoal burners. At one
of these Mr. Eeid said he must stop, not only for the
night but for much of the next day, for it was one
that had been brought to the attention of his mission
Board as an inviting field for the establishment of a
At first the people were alarmed when they caught
sight of the strangers. But on the assurance of Mr.
Che-foo and Mr. Kit-ze that all were friends, they re-
leased their chickens and their queer -looking little pigs,
A FRIENDLY HAIL 67
not much bigger than rabbits, which they had begun
to put in pens at the approach of the sampan. They
listened eagerly to what the missionaries had to say,
pressed closely to them during the services, and had
many questions to ask, all of an earnest character.
The magistrate too, at this place, to whom Mr. Reid
had brought letters, treated them cordially and offered
to assist him in any way he could. The chief men
were also friendly and assured the missionaries that if
they wanted to come and teach the new doctrine, they
should have respectful attention.
One thing in connection with their stay at the village
caused special happiness to Mr. Reid. Mr. Kit-ze had
not only paid deep attention during the services, but he
had remained thoughtful for some time thereafter. He
had also come to both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn with
They remained all the next day, which was Friday,
and that night at the village. Early the next morn-
ing the sampan was heading again up the river.
" Where shall we spend the Sabbath? " asked Mr.
"At Yo-Ju, I think, exalted teacher," replied Mr.
Kit-ze. ' ( If we pass the rapids without ill-luck, and
push on steadily, we can reach there by the fall of the
But they had trying times at the rapids, the longest
and the most dangerous yet encountered, so that the
late afternoon found them a good half-day's journey
from Yo-Ju. They had now come to the mountains in
68 THE RED MIRIOK
all their wildness and ruggedness. Silence fell upon
the little party. No word could be spoken amid all
that awe-inspiring beauty. Then Mr. Eeid's voice
broke the stillness as he repeated the ninety-seventh
Psalm, ' ' The Lord reigneth. ' '
Though the way was so wildly picturesque on either
side, yet the river at this place flowed peacefully along,
washing about the shore of green islets or lapping the
steep banks with a gentle murmur.
Suddenly, from the midst of some overhanging vines
near which they were passing, there came a loud hail.
Then a voice added in very good English : "Pause,
friends ! exalted teacher, do I see you once more ? ' '
' ' Why, that voice sounds familiar, ' ' said Mr.
Keid. " Head the sampan toward the cliff, Mr.
Kit-ze, and let us see what it means. ' '
Mr. Kit-ze had no more than started to obey when a
small flat boat came out from the overhanging bank
and made toward them. It had three occupants, an
elderly man who was sitting midway of it, and two
younger ones who were propelling it. The old man
was bolt upright despite his years, and made an inter-
esting and picturesque figure with his snow-white hair,
which, as is altogether unusual in Koreans, was falling
about his shoulders, and with his partly civilized dress.
"Why, it is Mr. Ko ! " cried Joyce.
'' ' Yes, ' ' said Helen, a smile breaking over her face,
" it is he, sure enough. Oh, how glad I am ! "
" Old friend," cried Mr. Reid delighted, " can it be
that I greet you again ? ' '
A FRIENDLY HAIL
"Yes, exalted master. Your old servant heard you
were coming up the river. So, lo, since the evening
THE OLD MAN WAS BOLT UPRIGHT, DESPITE HIS YEAKS.
of yesterday he has been watching for you."
Mr. Keid now introduced Mr. Ko to Mr. Wilburn
70 THE BED MIKIOK
and the others. The old Korean had lived for years at
the capital. There he had known the missionary and
his family through three or four years. During two of
these he had lived at the mission as gate-keeper and
errand man. Mr. Reid had heard that he had inher-
ited some property and had gone away from Seoul.
The old man was quite a character. He had shown
considerable devotion to the missionary and his family,
but Mr. Reid, with all his efforts in Mr. Ko's behalf,
had never been able to get the old man further than
the admission that the Jesus doctrine was a very fair
sort of doctrine and, if he only had the time, he would
give himself over to the practice of it.
Now the old man was delighted at seeing the mis-
sionary and his children again. They must spend
some time with him, he declared. Everything had
been prepared for them. He had even secured a cook
who could give them the food as they liked it. Oh,
this was a wonderful man, indeed. Only yesterday he
had come. " The good spirits sent him,," asserted Mr.
Ko, " I am certain they did."
Nothing would do the old man but that Helen, at
least, must have a glimpse of this Avonderful cook the
moment she reached the dwelling.
" There he is," said Mr. Ko, with the delight of a
child, pointing through an opening into the kitchen.
A tall figure was bending over the ang-palc, or great
rice jar. At sound of Mr. Ko's voice he raised his
head and glanced around. It was the stowaway of the
"ELEN uttered an excla-
mation, then moved
toward Mr. Ko. He
read the expression
of her face quickly.
him? " he asked.
"I do not know
him, but I have seen
him. He was on the
sampan with us after
we left Han-Kang."
' ' Why, he did not tell me that ! He only said that
he had seen the honorable teacher and that he was com-
ing. But no matter," continued Mr. Ko, and looking
encouragingly toward the man. ' ' He did not tell me
because he had some reason not to. It is all right,"
he added cheerfully. c ' You may go on with the
cooking. ' '
"I know him," he said, turning again to Helen.
' ' He was my neighbor in Seoul two years ago. He is
a good sort of fellow, only there seems to be something
on his mind. I don't understand that. Never did."
72 THE BED MIRIOK
A deep perplexity now came to Helen. She could
not decide whether or not to let the others know of the
presence of the man at Mr. Ko's. She finally reached
the decision to tell her father and Clarence and maybe
Dorothy. There was, perhaps, after all, nothing wrong
about the man. He had really done nothing to arouse
their suspicions, only remained silent and sullen when
he was questioned. She knew that her father believed
that he had merely been stealing a ride. The only
mysterious thing about him at present was his having
so swiftly preceded them to Mr. Ko's. She after-
ward learned that he had fallen in with another sam-
pan almost as soon as he had left them, and had worked
his way up the river. While they lingered at the vil-
lages he had traveled.
Though Mr. Ko had adopted some of the ways of
civilization, he still ate very much after the Korean
fashion. Thus when they sat down to supper it was at
little round tables not more than a foot or a foot and a
half high. Instead of cloths, they were covered with
sheets of glazed paper. Kice was the principal diet.
It was set in an earthenware bowl near the center of
each table. In addition there was a soup of beef and
onions thickened with barley, a batter bread made of
flour and oil and a slight sprinkling of sugar, chicken
curry, eggs, and rice fritters. Mr. Ko also had tea, a
rarity for the rural districts of Korea.
As Mr. Ko, Mr. Kit-ze, and Mr. Chefoo ate, they
made a great noise with their mouths. This was done
to show their appreciation of the viands, for in Korea,
AN ENTREATY 73
the greater the noise made while eating, the more force-
fully denned is the compliment to the food.
Mr. Ko's house was much better than that of the
average farmer. It was built of poles, mud-daubed,
but the walls of the principal rooms were covered with
paper. There were little windows of thick glazed
paper while the doors were set in frames, of light bam-
boo. The sleeping arrangements cousisted principally
of mats with blocks of wood for pillows. In the winter
the beds were made over the brick flues that ran
through the rooms connected with the great oven
where the baking was done. Thus, in winter, to sleep
in a Korean house means to roast and freeze by turns,
for while the fire is kept up it is hot indeed, and when
it is allowed to go out then " cold as a stone" gives
the literal condition of a brick bed.
The house stood in a grove of mulberries, for to his
other pursuits Mr. Ko added that of silkworm raising.
There were clumps too, of the walnut and persimmon,
with vines of the white and yellow clematis tangled
amid their branches. Here the birds built, and here
they poured forth their morning songs or chattered to
their mates as they were going to bed at night. In
front were the fields of wheat and barley, and farther
down, in the very heart of the valley, the crops of rice.
As it was near the end of April, the barley was already
in ear and beginning to take on its russet coloring.
Mr. Ko, being an old bachelor, there were only men
about the house. He had a saying with reference to
which Clarence teased Helen and Dorothy rather un-
74 THE RED MIRIOK
mercifully. It was to the effect that where there were
women there was sure to be trouble.
"Oh, but Mr. Ko likes girls!" asserted Helen.
"You can't make me believe otherwise, Master Clar-
ence. He and I have been too long good friends."
' ' What was that I heard him say last night ? ' ' asked
Dorothy, a mischievous light in her eyes, ' ' about sons
and how they were like dragon's teeth in the sides of
their parents ? ' '
Clarence looked rather sheepish at this quick turning
of the tables on himself, and in a moment or so dexter-
ously changed the conversation.
On the following day, which was the Sabbath, two
services were held in Mr. Ko's mulberry grove. At
the first not many were present, but by afternoon scores
had flocked to the place from the neighboring farms
and from the village. Curiosity Avas plainly depicted
on all the faces, but as Mr. Keid proceeded, it changed
to eager attention on the part of several. Mr. Chefoo
made a good interpreter. He was both careful and
earnest. Already the sweet, simple truths the mission-
ary taught were beginning to make their appeal to his
own heart. It was the old story of Jesus and his sweet
ministrations to men, his sympathy for them, his under-
standing of their needs, the great, warm, deep love
that took in all, even the poorest and humblest.
" And this Jesus is the same now as then," continued
the missionary. ' ' He is waiting to enter each heart
and to possess it, to have our lives drawn nearer to his
own, to bestow upon us the sweet knowledge of that
AN ENTREATY 75
companionship with him that may be ours through all
The services were barely concluded when Mr. Kit-ze
came to ask questions. Gladness was in Mr. Reid's
heart as he saw the moved, wondering look upon the
boatman's face. He wanted to know if this Jesus, who
could do so much for men, who wanted to be their
friend, was very rich and powerful ? Could he bestow
honor and wealth as well as friendship ?
Mr. Kit-ze was told that the provisions of honor and
wealth did not enter into Jesus' plans for the happiness
of his people. He himself had shown his condemnation
of the grasping hand, the covetous heart, by declaring
that he who desired to be the greatest should be the
least of all and servant to all.
' ' But he gives that to us which is better than all
the honor and riches of earth, ' ' continued Mr. Reid ;
" he gives us contentment of life and peace of heart.
Would not you think these far better than money or
laud, my friend? "
Mr. Kit-ze did not know. He had thought that it
would indeed be a very fine thing to possess land and
cattle and so comfortable a home as that of Mr. Ko.
This, then, had been the thought uppermost with
Mr. Kit-ze when contemplating the character of Jesus,
the Divine Friend, and the thought of the possible
worldly elevation the friendship might bring him. The
missionary felt a deep pain at his heart as he realized
whither Mr. Kit-ze' s thoughts had led him. But at
the same time there was something in his attitude to
76 THE RED MIRIOK
inspire hope. Mr. Kit-ze had been impressed. That
was plainly evident. His mind was in a deep whirl of
thought. Other and better things would surely be
evolved from it in the end. Many times during that
day he made fervent petition for Mr. Kit-ze.
Mr. Kit-ze's perplexity increased as one thought
after another came to him. The exalted teacher had
not answered as he had hoped. All was still so uncer-
tain, so unsatisfactory. Ah, now he knew what he
would do ! He would go to the daughter of the hon-
orable teacher, to her who had the soft voice, the gentle
Avays, the kind heart. She could make it plain,
she would tell it so that it would reach his understand-
Helen's heart leaped as Mr. Kit-ze asked her the
questions. She could see how deeply in earnest he
Avas. Oh, could it be that he was at last awakened,
that he would search until he had found the truth,
would accept Jesus as the one faithful Friend ? His
first and second questions aroused these thoughts ; but
the third, how it disturbed her, as it had also dis-
turbed her father. It was the same question about
earthly honor and wealth.
"Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, taking his hand,
and at that moment he felt that he would have done
anything for her, "those who truly love Jesus, who
have taken him as their Friend, do not think of such
things in connection with what Jesus does for them.
They know that whatever is best for them he will send,
that whatever of good gifts they will use happily, he
AN ENTKEATY 77
will bestow. But further than this they do not go,
for, Mr. Kit-ze, when once we have taken Jesus, we
must trust him for everything. We must not question
or ask him for this thing or the other. Thus, Mr.
Kit-ze, if you had a worldly friend, one in whom you
believed with all the mind, in whom you trusted with all
the heart, would you not willingly follow that friend
wherever he bade you go and take everything from
him as meant for your good ? "
" Oh, yes," said Mr. Kit-ze, " oh, yes."
' ' Well, thus it is with Jesus. When we take him
for our Friend, truly take him, we do not require any-
thing of him. We leave all that to him and only
trust him. He loves us. Oh, how he loves, Mr.
Kit-ze ! He is the truest lover in all the world. Could
he, or would he, then, do aught else but what is best
for the one beloved ? "
"Oh, daughter of the exalted teacher," said the
boatman, his voice tremulous with some new-found
emotion, ' ' you have put that into Mr. Kit-ze's heart
which will make him think, think ! " He went away
with his hand still pressed upon his heart and murmur-
ing to himself.
Helen had told her father of the presence of the
stowaway in Mr. Ko's kitchen, and of her great sur-
prise at finding him there.
' ' Oh, I suppose there isn't anything mysterious about
it, Helen," her father made answer; "nothing to be
dreaded from him, I know. He looked inoffensive
enough, though sullen, and you remember we didn't
78 THE RED MIRIOK
find anything on his person. I am only astonished at
the rapidity with which he has made his way up the
river ; but from what you have since learned and have
told me, that too is clear."
Helen was glad her father took the man's presence
in this way. She really felt sorry for the poor fellow.
He had looked at her so pathetically the evening be-
fore ere she left the kitchen with Mr. Ko, and had
murmured something in which she caught the words,
"No harm, no harm." His eyes had not then the
burning look she had noticed when they were fixed
upon Mr. Kit-ze. Instead, they were soft and plead-
She was ready now to tell Clarence and Dorothy.
They had walked down to the bluff for a view of the
river and of the track of the setting sun as it moved
across the water like some golden -freighted craft.
Clarence, boylike, whistled his astonishment at the
communication. "Why, Helen, how did he ever
manage to get here so far ahead of us ? " he asked at
length. "It seems almost incredible."
"On a sampan, as I have told you Mr. Ko in-
formed me. There isn't anything so strange about
that. What troubles me is the feeling that he is fol-
"I think this time we followed him," observed
Clarence trying to be a little witty.
' ' But he was evidently awaiting us here. ' '
' ' Then we'll ask him his business, ' ' declared Clar-
AN ENTREATY 79
No, Clarence, no," entreated Helen. "That
THEN, EXTENDING HIS HANDS.
might be the worst thing. I am sure he means no
harm. Let us wait and see if he attempts to follow us
80 THE BED MIRIOK
away from here. Then we might inquire into his con-
"I feel sorry for him," said Dorothy. "I can't
help it, though he" may mean no good. He looked so
pitiful when he was being dragged away to the magis-
trate. He was frightened too, but he didn't have the
appearance of one who contemplated wrong-doing. ' '
' ' I feel in that way myself, ' ' said Helen. ' ' I "
But ere she finished the sentence, they were attracted
by the noise of a step behind them. Turning, they
saw the one whom they were discussing. With a
hasty movement he prostrated himself before them ;
then extending his hands, entreated : " friends, hear
the story of poor Choi -So ! "
THE STORY OF CHOI -SO
UCH a pathetic
story as it was
for the most
part ! One that
caused the young
people to listen
to it with the
mother had died
when he was very
young, too young to remember her. The woman who
raised him had cruelly treated him. She had not only
half-starved him, but she had often severely beaten
him. Choi-So had not said it in so many words, but
he gave his young hearers the impression that this
treatment had so dazed him that his head was not alto-
gether right. Sometimes he was like one in a mist, as
he expressed it.
His father was a very religious man. He was a
dreamer too, a bad combination, since when one is con-
stantly wandering away in thought, many of the plain-
est duties that are allied to a religious profession are apt
82 THE EED MIEIOK
to be neglected. He was a worker in straw. He made
shoes and ropes and mats, the latter beautifully woven.
He received a fair price for his work, and there was no
reason why his child should have been starved except
that the money that ought to have gone to his nourish-
ment was appropriated to her own use by an unscru-
pulous woman while the father wove his mats and
Mr. Ang-su, Choi-So's father, had spent many years
of his life in Japan. There he had married Choi-So's
mother. There too, he had acquired his deep religious
convictions. He was a devout Buddhist. As he sat
and dreamed his young son entered into many of these
dreams, was, in truth, the chief figure therein. Far
better would it have been could he have occupied even
for half the length of time his father's practical thought.
Thus it came about that at eighteen Choi -So was sent to
one of the Buddhist monasteries in the mountains, there
to be prepared for the priesthood. Five years were
spent in the dreary, monotonous routine that made up
his life there. So many times during each period of
twenty-four hours, from midnight till midnight again,
he must hasten to the temple at sound of drum or bell,
there to prostrate himself on the stone floor before the
bow-kneed, brass-faced god, repeating, u Namu Amit
abul! Namu Amit abul!" (I put my trust in Bud-
dha ! I put my trust in Buddha !) One hundred and
eight times he did this without stopping, to an accom-
paniment of bells, sometimes sounding soft and silvery,
or again ringing out with harsh, loud clangor.
THE STOKY OF CHOI-SO 83
He was also taught to take no life, not even that of a
mosquito. If one troubled him more than he could en-
dure, the venerable abbot instructed him that he was
simply to get. up and ' ' shoo ' ' it gently out of the room.
His fare was hard and unsatisfying, consisting all the
year round of rice and pressed seaweed, for no one who
lived to the glory of Buddha must touch meat. Sad to
say, this life was just the one that appealed to the mel-
ancholy boy. He had inherited much of his father's
religious concentration and dreaminess of manner. In-
stead of having the desire to run away from this hard
life, he daily applied himself the more earnestly to the
task of learning to please Buddha, of so living that he
might attain Nirvana ! That was his highest desire.
One day, just at the close of his five years, he came
upon Mr. Kit-ze stranded upon the river bank, bruised
and broken. He had had a desperate struggle for life
in the rapids. Three ribs were broken and an arm
badly injured. He had lost his cargo, and had very
nearly lost his sampan ; but, injured though he was, he
had managed to cling to the latter and to get it safely
to shore. However, it would need much in the way of
repairs ere it could be used again. Choi-So, in deep
pity for the' wounded boatman, went for help, and had
him assisted to the monastery. Mr. Kit-ze was con-
ducted through the great arched gateway and into the
reception hall. There the venerable abbot had come to
him, and uttered the words of welcome, "Peace be
unto you," and had then bidden that he be led away
and his wounds treated.
84 THE BED MIRIOK
For two weeks Mr. Kit-ze had remained at the mon-
astery. He had ingratiated himself into the favor of
the priests. Especially had he won the trust and good-
will of Choi-So. The young man was his devoted at-
tendant. The boatman was given many privileges. He
was even permitted to look through a small sliding panel
upon the priests at their devotions. This room, to which
the monks were called so many times each day to their
prayers, began to hold a deep fascination for Mr. Kit-ze.
Its rich carvings, its many images, above all, the great
bronze statue of the Buddha with the various smaller
ones grouped about it, so chained his attention that for
moments at a time he would continue to gaze as though
Choi-So had explained to him the mission of these
smaller images. They were to teach man the various
stages through which he was to pass ere -Nirvana could
be attained. Thus they were helps in the progress of
life. Any one of them could bring to mind what man
hoped, what he inherited through the strength and the
faithfulness of Buddha. Much of this was unintelligible
to Mr. Kit-ze. He knew nothing of Buddha, nor
cared to know. But the images represented something
that did appeal to him. This much he understood, or
at least thought he understood. Any one of them
brought good fortune to its possessor. That is the way
he had read Choi -So' s explanation.
Mr. Kit-ze' s mind was ripe for a suggestion of this
kind. Among the losses he had sustained through the
catastrophe in the rapids was one he felt more keenly
THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 85
than the others. Deeply superstitious, as is the greater
HE WAS PERMITTED TO LOOK . . . UPON THE PRIESTS AT THEIR
part of his race, Mr. Kit-ze believed devoutly in the
efficacy of certain charms. A grotesque figure he had
86 THE RED MIRIOK
carried on his person for years had again and again
helped him to elude the demons that waited for him in
the rapids. But for this his sampan would never have
had the many safe journeys through the dangerous parts
of the river, and but for the loss of this image during
the earlier part of his late struggle in the rapids,
calamity would never have befallen. He must replace
this charm, this wonderful image of protection and
helpfulness. What better could be found than what
was here represented in this chamber, sacred to the
great god before whom the priests prostrated themselves,
and of whose power they made such astonishing recitals?
Had he not been informed of the marvelous things that
could be accomplished through the possession of even
one of the images, of the part each bore in the fortune
of man? He could not enter the chamber himself.
He must work through Choi-So.
Poor Choi-So was in a sore state of mind at that
time. Again and again he had felt, as he had described
himself, like one walking in a mist. His father had
recently died. For weeks now he had remained uu-
buried, a custom very prevalent in Korea until such a
funeral as the mourners desire can be given. His sav-
ings had been squandered by the wife who had so ill-
treated Choi-So. There Avas nothing with which to lay
the corpse away as the dutiful son felt would be fitting.
So he waited and waited, praying and hoping and long-
ing for the means to do honor to his father, or else be-
come a wretched, miserable son, despised of all who
knew him. It was then that Mr. Kit-ze tempted him,
THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 87
repeating the temptation until poor Choi -So had finally
yielded. The image was stolen, but, to Mr. Kit-ze's
shame, only a part of the price agreed upon had been
paid. When Choi-So had followed him, beseeching
the remainder, it was but to be cast off roughly. An-
other time he was threatened with the magistrate, and
with exposure. This last threat drove Choi-So back
to the monastery. But the theft had been discovered
and traced to him. A companion priest informed him
in time for Choi-So to make his escape ere the terrible
punishment in store overtook him.
Since then he had been a wanderer. He knew that
his brother priests had sent one of their number in pur-
suit of him. His one object now was to recover the
image, return it, and suffer the consequences. He could
never be happy again until he had done it. He could
never attain Nirvana until reparation had been made
and the image placed once more in the mystic circle
about the Buddha. For three years now he had wan-
dered in search of Mr. Kit-ze, but as the boatman had
moved away from his old quarters at Seoul, poor Choi-
So, for all his search, had never laid eyes upon him
until that day on the river bank at Han-Kang.
This story had been told in a broken way, and as
Choi-So had but a small knowledge of English and his
youthful listeners far from a full one of Korean, it was
only by putting it together piece by piece, one supply-
ing a link here and another one there, that they finally
"Oh, friends," he entreated, holding out his hands
88 THE EED MIRIOK
pathetically to his hearers, at the conclusion of his
story, ' ' pity the sorrows of poor Choi -So. Help him
to recover that which is the only thing that can bring
peace to him again ! "
" The red miriok ! " exclaimed Clarence, and looked
at Helen significantly.
"Yes," said Helen, "the red miriok. I had al-
ready felt that it had something to do with this poor
man's following us."
Then she told them of her impressions on the river
bank as she had first noted Choi -So and the manner in
which his gaze had been riveted upon Mr. Kit-ze and
the red miriok. "Poor thing," she continued, her
eyes fixed pityingly upon Choi-So, "it is all very se-
rious to him, and we can see how he has suffered through
" But how can we help him ? " asked Dorothy. Her
sympathies too were deeply aroused. "Mr. Kit-ze
will never give up the image, I fear," she continued.
" We might make him do it," said Clarence quickly,
" or pay him to do it."
"No," said Helen emphatically; "we cannot.
Neither will do."
" What then? " asked Clarence.
" We might win him to the better way," said Helen
softly. " We might coax him to give up this wretched
little image for the sweeter things we could help him to
" What ! Mr. Kit-ze? " cried Clarence incredulously.
' ' Never ! He is too hardened. ' '
THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 89
" Clarence, how wrong to say that ! Has not God's
love shown its power to reach even those more hardened
than Mr. Kit-ze?"
' ' But what can we do for this poor fellow here ? ' '
Helen turned her eyes upon Choi-So. As she noted
the lean and pallid face, the deep-set eyes in which the
light of fanaticism burned steadily, courage, hope, both
left her. " Oh, I am sure I don't know ! ' ' she cried in
Just at that moment Mallard was seen hastening
down the path toward them. From the manner in
which he came they felt sure he was the bearer of a
message of some kind. "I have bad news," he said as
"Oh, what is it?" cried Helen, thinking instantly
of her father.
' ' Do not be alarmed, cousin, ' ' he hastened to assure
her. " It is nothing so dreadful. There has been an
accident. Mr. Chefoo slipped at a steep place on the
river bank, fell, and has broken his arm."
ES, Mr. Chefoo had
broken his arm. It
was too bad ! for
aside from the pain
and discomfort that
it gave him, how
were they to get on
with the sampan
without him ? It is
true, it was not a
very severe frac-
ture, only one of the
smaller bones hav-
ing been broken ; but it would be at least two weeks
ere he could use it again. In the meantime, what was
to be done ? Mr. Kit-ze could not manage the sam-
pan alone. Some one must help him pole as well as
keep the boat within the proper channel. It would be
a very one-sided and unsatisfactory progress if the sam-
pan were propelled from only one end.
Mr. Ko thought of a half-dozen men who were at
hand, but none were reliable. It would be better with-
out them than with them, especially as there were rapids
A THEFT 91
to be passed. Mr. Ko was very much disturbed over
the accident to Mr. Chefoo, because of its having oc-
curred at his' place. He was sure a demon had caused
it. It was the demon in the well, he finally decided,
since Mr. Chefoo had been at the well ere proceeding
down the path where the accident occurred. The demon
must be appeased, he declared, and forthwith proceeded
to throw rice into the well. Now Mr. Chefoo's arm
would rapidly mend, he asserted.
Monday morning had come, and still there seemed no
prospect of resuming the journey to Yo Ju.
"We must get on," said Mr. Reid, "our time is
limited. We must make some arrangement for an as-
sistant for Mr. Kit-ze."
Mr. Chefoo had now a high fever and was unable to
sit up. It had been decided to leave him with Mr.
Ko until their return, which would be in about three
days, as they were not going much beyond Yo Ju.
In the midst of their perplexity Mr. Ko came to
them with a beaming face. He knew the very thing !
Why had he not thought of it before? They could
take Mr. Choi -So. Now that his honorable guests were
about to depart, he, Mr. Ko, would not need his cook.
Mr. Choi-So himself was anxious to go along with them.
He had approached Mr. Ko on the subject. He was
an excellent poleman, quick and careful. He had sev-
eral times assisted in carrying sampans up and down
the river, twice for Mr. Ko himself. Besides, he bore
an excellent character. Mr. Ko knew him. He had
known his father too.
THE BED MIEIOK
" I see no reason why Ave shouldn't take him," said
HE FORTHWITH . . . PROCEEDED TO THROW RICE INTO THE WELL.
But Mr. Wilburn opposed this. He had not liked
the man's concealment of himself in the sampan, neither
had he been favorably impressed by his appearance
A THEFT 93
on that occasion. His sullen, hang-dog look had be-
tokened anything but innocence. He could have been
after no good. Mr. Wilburn's suspicions had been
strengthened by the presence of Choi-So at Mr. Ko's.
Neither Mr. Reid nor Mr. Wilburn had learned the
story of the red miriok, or image of Buddha, as it
ought more properly to be designated. The young peo-
ple, after consulting among themselves, had decided to
tell no one, at least not until they could agree on
some plan. Mr. Choi -So had given them his confidence.
He evidently trusted them and believed that they could
help him. If he wanted the others to know too, then
he would tell them. He showed plainly that he feared
Mr. Wilburn and was not at ease with Mr. Eeid.
Helen and Clarence both felt that they wanted their
father to know, but they respected Mr. Choi-So's feel-
ings. Perhaps he would himself tell the missionary.
Things were in this unsatisfactory state when Mr.
Choi-So's oifer to attend them as poleman was made
known. The young people were pleased. It was the
very thing, they thought. It would give them more
time to decide upon some action, for the desire was now
keen with each one to secure the miriok from Mr.
Kit-ze and return it to Mr. Choi-So.
' ' The poor fellow will go demented if we do not, ' '
declared Clarence. " He is half crazy on the subject,
anyhow. We can at least try to give him peace of
"I wish we could give him something else," added
94 THE EED MIRIOK
"But we can't," asserted Clarence; "at least not
now. His mind is too upset about the miriok. Be-
sides, Mr. Kit-ze has really treated him dishonestly.
He ought to be made to give the image back to him.
The poor fellow has pinched and saved until he has the
amount Mr. Kit-ze paid, so he told us."
"Oh," said Helen, "if only I could talk to this
poor Choi-So so that it would go to his mind and then
to his heart, how happy I should be ! If only I could
show him that this image for which he is willing to sac-
rifice life itself is only a wretched little piece of metal ! ' '
" But he ought to carry it back," said Clarence.
"And run the chance of being thrown into a dun-
geon, fed on bread and water, and kept there perhaps
for years without ever hearing of a single one of the
sweet and precious things Jesus wants to do for him ?
Oh, it is dreadful ! He had better lose the miriolc."
" And lose his mind with it ? No, my sister, believe
me that is not the right way for poor Choi-So. Let us
get the miriok for him that is, if we can and perhaps
afterward we may induce him to return it by messenger
and listen to us. ' '
Mr. Wilburn was finally induced, through Mr.
Reid's clear and forceful way of presenting the matter
to htm, to withdraw his opposition to Choi -So' s accom-
panying them as poleman ; but not so Mr. Kit-ze. He
had been the last one to discover Choi-So's presence at
Mr. Ko's, and this had been only a short time before
the stowaway's offer to take Mr. Chefoo's place. The
old boatman made quick and stormy objections. He
A THEFT 95
would not, he declared, permit such an idiot to handle
a pole of his sampan, for he was one who had no sense
for moving his hands two ways at once. If ever he had
had any sense it was under his arm, for it certainly
had never been put into his head for the lack of room
But after a time Mr. Kit-ze grew cooler and seemed,
to some extent, to be ashamed of his outburst, especially
as Helen had now drawn near to him and taking his
hand, was gazing at him reproachfully.
"Don't say that, Mr. Kit-ze," she said. "You
don't really know that he can't help you with the
sampan, do you?" regarding him steadily. "Only
try him, won't you ? Think what it means to us to be
delayed here. Oh, we must go on, and you must help
us, Mr. Kit-ze, by your consent. Perhaps it will only
be to Yo Ju, as we may find another poleman there to
Thus Helen pleaded, and little by little Mr. Kit-ze' s
heart relented, his opposition relaxed, till he at length
agreed to Choi -So' s accompanying them as far as Yo
Ju. But the stipulations were that he was not to move
from his end of the sampan, and at night he was to
"Mr. Kit-ze is afraid of him," commented Mr.
Wilburn. "He can read the rascal in him as plainly
as I can."
"I hope it will be proved ere we part from our pole-
man, that both you and Mr. Kit-ze are mistaken," said
Mr. Reid earnestly. "I can't believe that there is
96 THE RED MIRIOK
anything vicious in the man. He hasn't at all that
appearance to me. To my eye it is more an anxiety to
get up the river than anything else I can detect. ' '
Mr. Ko was pleased that they had finally decided to
take Mr. Choi-So. "You won't regret it," he
asserted. "He'll take you over the rapids better than
any one I know ; and," he concluded, looking at Mr.
Keid a little peculiarly, "it's my opinion you won't
dismiss him at Yo Ju. At any rate, I'll have you a
good poleman by the time you come back. ' '
By ten o'clock they were ready to be off, having
bidden good-bye to poor Mr. Chefoo after having
spoken all the consoling words to him they could.
In honor of their departure, Mr. Ko had donned a
spotless suit of white. He had also sought to enhance
his appearance by adding an immense pair of spectacles,
which he had purchased at considerable outlay, from
an old scholar. It mattered not that one lens was en-
tirely lacking and the other was so badly cracked that
it was a question as to whether Mr. Ko could use the
vision of that eye with any satisfactory effect. All the
same, he stood upon the bank waving his fan majes-
tically, his little black eye gleaming from out the great
round space where the lens ought to have been, and
all the time shouting out to them in Korean, "Come
back again to-morrow!" That meant, "Keturn as
soon as you can. ' '
Mr. Choi-So soon proved his right to all the good
things Mr. Ko had spoken of him. He was an excel-
lent poleman, both alert and careful. He helped en-
A THEFT 97
gineer the boat safely through the rapids in a manner
that called forth grunts of approval from even Mr.
About four o'clock in the afternoon they came in
sight of Yo Ju. Besides being a city of considerable
size, it was noted as the birthplace of the queen, and
the king had caused two or three public structures to
be erected in her honor.
There were many sampans, junks, and other rude
craft at anchor in front of , the city, and they had much
difficulty in making their way through them. But at
length they reached the shore safely. They had not
more than tied up when an immense crowd began to
gather about the sampan, even wading out into the
water. The crowd was not only curious, but annoying.
They handled the clothes and hair of our friends, and
even tried to run their hands over their faces. But to
this not only protest but resistance was offered.
Soon after reaching the bank, Mallard had climbed
out on an end of the sampan and steadied his camera
for a snap of the city. He thought it a splendid op-
portunity, as the sun was falling full upon the great
gateway and the queer looking buildings grouped near
to it. He at once attracted the attention of the crowd.
Great curiosity was aroused as to his intention, and
soon men, women, and children were rushing toward
him. They clambered up the side of the sampan. They
pressed about him until there wasn't space to hold
another foot. They poked fingers into eyes and ears
and nose ; they shouted in glee as they caught the flash
98 THE RED MIEIOK
of the lens in the instrument, and tried to pull it out.
In consternation Mallard endeavored first to protect
himself, then his camera, and was finally pushed into
the water, saving the latter from both a smashing and
a wetting by the narrowest margin.
The same curiosity followed them as they went up
into a gate tower for a view of the city. The crowd
pressed about them so they could barely enter. Even
after they began to ascend the stairs the curious throng
crowded about them so that the entire space was filled.
When they attempted to come down again, to their
consternation they found they could not. They had
finally to make their way back from the outside, a
rough and somewhat dangerous undertaking. Fortu-
nately neither was Joyce nor were the two girls with
"This will never do," said Mr. Reid. " We must
get away from this terribly curious crowd, for the an-
noyance they give us will become more than a burden
after a while. Mr. Kit-ze, is there no place, not so far
.away, where we can tie up without the prospect of hav-
ing such curiosity as this to endure ? "
' ' Yes, honorable teacher, not so far away is the temple
of the great Dragon. There are overhanging trees, a
quiet river bed, and not many people who will come to
gaze. ' '
"Then let us go there by all means. To-morrow
morning we'll find our chance to enter the city."
They made their way out through the forest of river
craft and up the stream again. The great temple stood
A THEFT 99
directly on the banks of the Han, some little distance
from the city. It was a beautiful spot, picturesquely
so, for in addition to the brick and stone pagodas that
gleamed through the trees, there was a number of
small islands clustered about, covered with low-growing
verdure and spangled with the blossoms of the pink and
The temple in itself had much with which they could
occupy their time. Among other things was a quaint
bell, in a perfect network of dragons, said to be more
than five hundred years old. But as the sun was near
to its setting as they came to anchor in a quiet spot
along the banks, they decided to do no exploring for
Mr. Kit-ze had spoken truly, ' ' there were not many
Avho came to gaze. ' ' Though it was a kind of outlying
village and had several hundred inhabitants, yet only a
few of them appeared on the arrival of the sampan. Most
seemed closely occupied with their pursuits. However,
a little group of women and children pressed near to the
sampan, but no one proved offensive except a mutang
(sorceress), who, in the end, gave them considerable
trouble. She contended that she must be given two
yen so as to decide for them whether or not the Dragon
would be pleased at their stay in the front of the temple.
She finally fell to one yen, then to six hundred "cash,"
but still our travelers paid no attention to her.
She had an evil eye, Dorothy asserted, and further
declared that she knew she could not sleep that night
for thinking of her.
100 THE EED MIRIOK
Mr. Kit-ze showed even more impatience with her
than the others. They didn't need her divinations, he
told her, for they had that with them that could over-
come any evil from the dragon. Then he injudiciously
gave her a view of the red miriok. How her keen
little black eyes glowed as she caught sight of it ! and
the sudden look she cast upon Mr. Kit-ze made Helen,
who was closely watching the scene, feel uneasy despite
Helen had been earnestly regarding Mr. Kit-ze
through a large part of that afternoon. There was
that in his manner that at times disturbed her, but
again it seemed as though hope were creeping into her
heart. He had been absent-minded and dejected for
much of the way, but now and then he had aroused
himself. At such times he had turned with keen
glances in the direction of Choi-So, studying every
lineament of the young man's face, it seemed to Helen.
Always these searching looks were bestowed upon Choi-
So when he was not in turn regarding Mr. Kit-ze.
Helen was sure that better feelings were stirring at the
heart of Mr. Kit-ze on these occasions, for she could
see how his eyes softened and his lips moved nervously
as he continued to gaze.
According to agreement Choi-So had been dismissed
as night approached ; but Helen, who had been very
observant, was sure he was not far away. Indeed,
while walking on the bank for exercise, she had caught
sight of his face from a small clump of bushes only a
few steps from where she was. She decided at once
A THEFT 101
that she would not call attention to him. Her heart
was tender for him. She did not believe that he would
do harm. Soon silence settled down around the sam-
pan, for its inmates had retired to rest. Several hours
of the night passed away. All were supposed to be
asleep except Mr. Kit-ze, whose watch it was. But,
after a while, Mr. Kit-ze too yielded to slumber.
Suddenly Helen awoke. It was with a strange, rest-
less feeling. It seemed to her that there had been an
uneasy consciousness even in the midst of her slumber.
She tried to go sleep again, but could not.
' ' I think the air in here must be a little too close, ' '
Helen thought after a few moments. She raised herself
and leaned toward the heavy curtain of straw. Then
she rolled it partly upward, secured it to the fastenings,
and looked out. She was sleeping at the side of the
sampan next to the shore. All was quiet. She could
see no one. Then she let her eyes glance toward the
bow of the boat. Mr. Kit-ze was huddled down in his
little boxlike apartment sound asleep.
"Oh," said Helen, "this will never do! I must
call my father to awaken him. ' '
But even as she started to. move toward her father's
apartment, she stopped again, almost transfixed. A
hand had cautiously made its way up the side of the
sampan, and was now directing itself toward Mr.
AN AKRESTED SACRIFICE
HE hand moved
nearer and nearer
Mr. Kit-ze's breast ;
a moment more and
it had buried itself
in the folds of his
robe. Even as
Helen continued to
gaze like one trans-
fixed, ere yet she
had the power to recover herself, a face appeared above
the hand. But it was not the face she had expected
to see that of Mr. Choi-So. Instead, the moonlight
showed her clearly the repulsive countenance of the old
There are moments when sudden excitement leads us
into a line of action our cooler moments would by no
means approve, when quick emotions bring impulses
that are followed without a pause for reasoning. Such
a time had now come to Helen. Mr. Kit-ze was being
robbed. She could see that plainly. The thief was
the old mutang, and the object of her theft, it almost
instantly flashed into Helen's mind, was the red miriok.
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 103
In truth, even as the intuition came to her, she saw the
hideous little image in the woman's hand.
All Helen's energies were now bent toward a frus-
tration of the old woman's design of carrying away the
miriok. She, Helen, must recover it ere the mutang
got off with it. For if the miriok disappeared, how
could she ever carry out her good intentions for either
Mr. Kit-ze or Choi-So ? All would be frustrated. For
would not Mr. Kit-ze be violently angry? and would
he not at once charge the theft to Choi-So ? And what
might not happen? As to poor Choi-So, he would
surely grow demented when he found that the image
had gone beyond his reach oh, she felt that he would !
In her sudden excitement, Helen never stopped for
reasoning. Hence it did not occur to her that her tes-
timony would exonerate Choi-So with Mr. Kit-ze, nor
that, so far as the part relating to Choi-So was concerned
the old mutang might be located and the stolen image
All that Helen then thought of was the recovery of
the miriok. She must get it and at once. Even now
the woman was slipping away with it. If she waited to
arouse the others the old woman would be gone, for at
the first sounds of alarm, she would speed away like a
hunted animal up the bank. Helen knew the magic
influence of money, especially of shining yen. Had not
the old woman shown her greed for them during the
afternoon ? If the miriok could be recovered, it would
surely be through the agency of the yen.
Both girls had lain down in the loose wrappers they
104 THE RED MIRIOK
wore for comfort during a part of the day. In the
pocket of hers Helen had her purse. Besides a few
smaller silver pieces there were in it three yen.
She leaned quickly over Dorothy ; she placed her
arm under her neck and gently shook her, all the while
whispering: "Get up quickly, dear, and come with
me. Don't speak out, don't question ; only come and
be quick ! quick ! ' '
Fortunately, Dorothy was not hard to arouse when
once she had been touched. Like some even heavy
sleepers whom a vigorous call cannot awaken, the touch
was like magic. In a second or so she was fully awake,
and gazing at Helen in deep wonder but alert.
" It is the red miriok I ' ' said Helen to Dorothy again
in a whisper. ' ' The old mutang has come and stolen
it from Mr. Kit-ze. He does not know it, and there is
no time to arouse him and the others. We must re-
cover it. If we are quick we can overtake her before
she gets away. Then this will accomplish the rest, ' '
she added, confidently holding up the purse.
The mutang had now sprung down from the side of
the sampan into which she had crept, and was moving
rapidly up the slight incline when Helen and Dorothy
in turn reached the bank. She saw them almost in-
stantly and, with a muffled cry, very much like the
growl of an animal, increased her speed.
"Stop ! ' ' said Helen in low tones, and as persuasively
as she could. " Stop ! We only want to talk to you.
We mean no harm. ' '
But the old Avoman either did not understand them
AN AEEESTED SACRIFICE 105
or she would not stop. It was evidently the latter, for
as much as she could, she quickened her pace. But
swift as she Avas, Helen and Dorothy were even swifter.
They were only a pace or two behind her as the top of
the bank was reached.
It was not far from daylight. The signs of the ap-
proaching dawn had already begun to appear along the
eastern sky. At the brow of the bluff and stretching
away from the temple, was the village of rude mud
huts, with now and then a more pretentious one showing
in their midst. There was one principal street which
ran along between the rows of huts. The mutang made
for this with Helen and Dorothy close behind her.
"Stop!" entreated Helen again, and louder than
before. ' ' Oh, do stop ! We mean no harm. We only
want to talk to you." But the more earnestly she en-
treated, the more determined the old woman seemed to
be to resist her, to escape from her.
Helen had now drawn near enough to lay hold of the
old woman's clothing, but her grasp was violently
shaken off, as the mutang sprang away again with re-
The two girls, intensely excited, stuck to the chase.
All their thoughts were concentrated upon it ; their
one desire to overtake the old woman and to induce her,
by offering yen in exchange, to return the miriok. Ab-
sorbed in these thoughts, this desire, they lost sight of
all else, especially of how every moment that they were
getting nearer and nearer to the woman they were going
farther and farther away from the sampan.
THE KED MIRIOK
" Oh," said Helen breathlessly, " we must overtake
her ! We must get her to give us the miriok. We
' STOP ! ' ENTREATED HELEN ! "
can't let her escape with it in this manner, for what
then could we do about poor Choi-So and Mr. Kit-ze ? "
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 107
" Yes," replied Dorothy, "we must get it back. I
am like you, Helen, I can't bear to see the old woman
get off with it. Oh, every time I think of that poor
man Choi-So and his melancholy, pleading eyes, I feel
-that we must keep on, that we must overtake her and
secure the image by some means ! "
' ' Why, ' ' said Helen suddenly, ' ' I have forgotten
to tell her about the yen I have for her." Then she
began to call, holding up her purse : ' ' See ! I have yen
for you. Stop and let me tell you about it. ' '
At last she had used the magic words. At sound of
them, twice repeated, the mutang slackened her pace.
Then she turned her head. Encouraged by these
signs, Helen renewed her efforts.
They were now some distance into the village, and a
half-mile or more from the sampan. The red glow of
the coming morning had fully dyed the east. Already
there were signs of stirring life in the huts about them.
Then too, the noise of running feet and of Helen's
loudly spoken words had attracted attention. One by
one forms began to appear on the street. Soon there
was quite a group in the neighborhood of the pursued
and pursuers. By the time Helen had succeeded in
gaining the old mutang' s interest, there were many cu-
rious spectators surrounding them.
"What is all this commotion about?" asked one
man as he approached. Then as he noted the mutang
he stopped respectfully. The old woman had now
paused in her running, and had turned toward Helen.
" What were the words? Say them again."
108 THE BED MIKIOK
Helen repeated them.
" Why are you running after me in this way ? Why
do you offer me yen f ' ' she now asked angrily.
Helen told her as simply and as plainly as she could.
At this the old woman's eyes blazed more than ever.
But she seemed to take a second thought, and asked
cautiously, " How many yenl "
' ' Two, ' ' replied Helen, closely watching her face.
The old woman shook her head vigorously, then be-
gan to stamp. "Too little! too little!" she said.
"Your head is under your arm to think I'd be such an
Then she set off again.
' ' Three ! ' ' called Helen desperately, for she knew
this was the limit of her resources so far as yen Avere
' ' No ! no ! " shouted the old woman. ' ' Too little !
too little ! Five or none. ' '
As the last sentence was uttered, she turned to see its
effect on Helen, but as there was not the response she
expected, she renewed her efforts to get beyond their
" Oh, if I only had my purse too ! " said Dorothy.
' ' But I gave it to my brother yesterday just before we
left Mr. Ko's."
In her despair Helen called after the old woman
again and again to stop, to turn back with them to the
sampan, promising her the yen she desired if only she
would do so, and further assuring her that no harm
should come to her, for Helen knew Mallard would
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 109
gladly supply the amount of yen she lacked. She
would tell him about the mirioJc. She had been in-
tending to do it the first favorable opportunity.
There was now quite a hubbub in the street, for in
addition to Helen's calls and Dorothy's added entreaties,
there were the shrill cries of defiance of the old mutang
herself. People had come running from all directions,
and their loudly voiced questions and exclamations
added to the noise. Among others there came five run-
ners, the court officers of a near-by yangban (gentle-
man), who was serving as magistrate.
When they saw the two girls they began to cry out
something against the hated foreigners, and three of
them at once took Helen and Dorothy into custody,
while the other two hastened away to capture the
mutang. They were too hardened to mind the old sor-
ceress and her wiles. Moreover, the court was no re-
specter of persons.
Helen and Dorothy were now much frightened and,
for the first time, began to realize what they had done
in setting off on this mad chase after the old mutang.
Helen was the first to recover herself. "I guess,"
she said, " it won't be so dreadful. They won't dare
hurt us. And soon our dear ones in the sampan will
come to the rescue, for surely we can get them word.
Anyhow, it won't be long ere they miss us, and they'll
search the town over till they find us."
A young man, whom Helen declared looked more
honest than any of the others, was soon engaged, in
consideration of the offer of two of Helen's smaller silver
110 THE BED MIRIOK
pieces, to carry the news of their predicament to the
sampan. But alas for Helen's confidence ! After se-
curing the silver he had taken only about a dozen steps
toward the river when, overcome by curiosity to see the
thing out, he turned back.
The 'mutang had now been captured, but not until
she had made such vigorous resistance that not only the
clothing of the runners had been torn, but their faces
In close company with the old mutang, and with the
runners encircling them so that there could be no
chance of escape, and a leering, hooting mob following
them, the two girls were conducted along the street to
the house of the yangban.
"Oh, Dorothy," said Helen, "this is dreadful!"
and, in her pain and mortification, she sought to con-
ceal as much of her face as she could with her hands.
" Yes, " said Dorothy, on the verge of tears. " Oh,
Helen, it would have been better, many times, to have
let the miriok go."
"No," said Helen, "no !"
It was now sunrise, but far too early for the magis-
trate. They were informed that they must wait an
hour or more.
Dorothy and Helen were finally permitted to enter
the women's -apartments. They afterward learned
that it was through the overwhelming curiosity of the
yangban' s chief wife. At the entrance they were laid
hold of by the serving-women and fairly dragged into
the apartment. There they had a trying experience
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 111
which lasted nearly an hour. To them it seemed five
times that length. Their clothing, their faces, and
their hair in turn were inspected, and by each wife.
They were bidden to take off their shoes, their wrap-
pers, and other wearing apparel, and each wife in turn
must try on each article. But the bulk of the curi-
osity was directed toward Helen's hair. It seemed that
the women would never tire of handling it. They even
wanted to cut it off, and but for Helen's heroic efforts,
aided by Dorothy's quick ingenuity, would have suc-
At length they were summoned before the yangban,
the wives, unable to restrain their curiosity, following
them to the room, where they sat behind a screen.
The yangban, who was quite a young man, was
lounging on his platform and smoking an immense
cigar. He Avas dressed in a pea-green silk robe con-
fined by a red girdle, and on each hand was a very
showy paste-diamond ring.
He had ordered the outer door to be thrown open,
and had allowed as many of the curious crowd to enter
as could be accommodated within a certain space.
Near him stood his interpreter, for he had early been
informed that two of the accused were foreigners.
After smoking awhile in silence, he commanded the
offenders to be brought before him for the usual form
of questions. He began with Helen. As she stepped
a little apart from the others, and nearer to the magis-
trate, in her earnestness to tell him her story, she hap-
pened to raise her eyes for a moment and let them rest
112 THE RED MIRIOK
upon the crowd gathered at her left. As she did so a
little muffled cry escaped her. There, standing almost
in the front line, and with his dark eyes fixed mourn-
fully upon her, was Choi-So. How had he come there ?
Afterward she learned that he had not been far away
from the sampan, and, sleeping very lightly because of
the thoughts that disturbed him, had been attracted by
the sound of running feet and by Helen's calls to the
old woman. He had overtaken them just as they had
been arrested and started to the yangban's. He had
heard Helen try to tell one of the runners the cause of
the trouble. He had gleaned just enough to set him
on fire with interest and excitement. For an instant
Choi -So 's presence at the magistrate's court so discon-
certed Helen that she could not remember the words
she had been on the point of uttering. But soon more
confidence returned, and she began bravely to tell her
The magistrate listened patiently, but he was evi-
dently full of curiosity and deeply excited over the ap-
pearance of the two young girls. Though he had seen
the white foreigners on the streets of Seoul, yet he had
never before been brought in such contact with them.
The fearless, earnest manner of both girls impressed
him and had much to do with his decision.
The mutang should return the image, he declared.
He had not asked to see it yet, and so was in no wise
impressed by it. Helen and Dorothy had proved to be
of such tremendous interest that all minor objects had
been for the time obscured.
AN ARRESTED SACEIFICE 113
Yes, the mutang should return the image, and the
yen that Helen had offered should go to himself.
This decision was barely rendered when there came a
communication from his chief wife. He appeared to
frown over it for a few moments, all the while smoking
hard. Then he further announced, and in the most
laconic manner, that Helen was to sacrifice her hair ere
receiving the image.
A cry of dismay escaped Helen, while Dorothy, hot
with indignation, began to pour out her protests, first
to the magistrate, then to Helen.
"It can't be done! You can't think of such a
thing! Don't! Don't!"
"Oh, yes, ' ' said Helen, who had now grown strangely
quiet and calm. "It isn't such a dreadful sacrifice,
dear. There are many far worse. I can endure it.
My hair will grow out again. Oh, surely it is worth
this when we remember what it means to get back the
All the while she was speaking, though she was look-
ing at Dorothy, yet Helen saw those mournful eyes that
she knew were fixed upon her from the other side of the
"Take the scissors, Dorothy," she entreated. "I
had forgotten until now that I had my folding ones
here in the little case in my pocket. Oh, it will be so
much better for you to do it, dear, for I couldn't bear
any of those rude hands to touch me. ' '
Dorothy took the scissors, but still making vigorous
114 THE EED MIEIOK
' ' Do, Dorothy, do, my dear, ' ' pleaded Helen.
With trembling hand Dorothy grasped the rich, shin-
ing braid. The scissors were raised ; but ere the two
gleaming blades could close on the glossy strand, a
voice cried out authoritatively :
Helen and Dorothy raised their eyes simultaneously.
It was Mr. Kit-ze. He had pressed to the extreme
limit of the line of spectators, and with his hat gone,
his clothing in wild disorder, his eyes gleaming like two
globes of fire, was gesticulating frantically to the
'R. KIT-ZE continued
to gesticulate and to
cry out to the magis-
trate, although those
near-by sought to re-
strain him. He even
tried to pass the bar-
rier, but was each
time pushed back by
The magistrate at
~~" first appeared not to
notice him, but after a while, overcome by his curiosity,
he turned his head and called to Mr. Kit-ze : "What
do you want, fellow? I'll put you in the cangue 1 if
you don't cease that noise."
"A word!" cried Mr, Kit-ze. "A word with
you, most high and exalted ! "
The magistrate eyed him a moment nonchalantly.
Then he said to a runner : " Bring him here."
Mr. Kit-ze approached and, falling- upon his heels,
1 A wooden collar worn by Korean offenders against the law.
116 THE EED MIRIOK
prostrated himself three times before the yangban,
touching his forehead to the floor each time.
As he arose, there fluttered from his fingers a strip
of yellow ribbon, and those who were near to him saw
stamped upon it in red a dragon with four wings and
" See ! " said Mr. Kit-ze, as he held it before the
magistrate. ' ' See ! renowned son of a renowned
father. most exalted, I claim the promise."
A look of intelligence began to dawn in the magis-
trate's eye. He looked closely at the streamer of yel-
low ribbon. " Go on," he said to Mr. Kit-ze. "Go
on, but keep your head above your shoulders, so as to
make clear what you are trying to say.'.'
" On a blessed day for your poor, miserable serv-
ant," began Mr. Kit-ze, "your exalted person came
down the Han in a craft that went to grief in the rap-
ids. Your polemen, losing their heads, deserted, and
but for the assistance of the unworthy being now speak-
ing to you and his poleman, there would have been
neither craft nor cargo belonging to your exalted self to
enter Seoul. You gave me yen, but you gave me this
too," holding the ribbon nearer as he spoke, "and
your most eloquent tongue, that always speaks straight,
declared that if there was ever anything this miserable
wretch desired of you that could be granted, it should
be so. ' '
" I remember, " said the magistrate. "Goon."
' ' I ask you now, renowned and honorable, to
spare the hair of the daughter of him who is known
ONE SOUL 117
as the exalted teacher," and here Mr. Kit-ze turned
toward Helen, who, ever since his sudden appearance,
had been regarding him with a questioning if not puz-
zled wonder. How had he come there, and where were
the others? Had he alone learned of their where-
abouts, and how had it so happened ?
"Take instead something of your wretched serv-
ant's," continued Mr. Kit-ze to the magistrate, " and
leave undisturbed the beautiful strands that are a hap-
piness to her whom they adorn and a joy in the eyes of
those who love her."
" Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen softly, a great, warm
flood of feeling sweeping over her heart as she compre-
hended what he had asked and noted the deep earnest-
ness in his eyes as he turned them upon her, "don't
mind about my hair ; please don't. It won't be so
dreadful to me to lose it. Don't get yourself into
trouble for my sake," and now she laid her hand upon
his shoulder in earnest pleading.
"I'll fear to suffer nothing if done for you,
daughter of the honorable teacher. ' ' And now his eyes
were misty with feeling as their gaze lingered upon her.
' ' Come, is this all you want ? ' ' asked the magis-
trate impatiently and evidently resenting the conversa-
tion now going on between Helen and Mr. Kit-ze.
" Yes, it is all your wretched servant has to ask of
you," replied Mr. Kit-ze. " most honorable," he
began to plead, ' ' spare, I entreat you, the beautiful
hair of her who is the daughter of the exalted teacher,
and nothing more will I ask of you. Nothing ! "
118 THE EED MIRIOK
' ' But the miriok, Mr. Kit-ze, the miriok f ' ' said
Helen in an undertone and surprised that he had
seemed to take no thought of it in his appeal to the
magistrate. For he surely had heard enough of the
proceedings to understand why she and Dorothy had
been brought before the yangban.
" The miriok f " said Mr. Kit-ze softly and looking
at her with eyes whose confidence touched her beyond
expression. ' ' He will give you the miriok. He has
Then, as a sudden, strange expression came into his
eyes, he glanced up quickly and straight toward the
line of spectators. "There is another," he said, his
lips moving nervously, " and I must ! " He paused ;
then she heard him say again, ' ' Oh, I must ! ' '
Helen's heart leaped. Did he mean Mr. Choi -So ?
Had he seen him among the spectators ? It was more
than likely that he had, as the latter stood near to
where Mr. Kit-ze was when he began to gesticulate to
" I can't see why your request shouldn't be granted,"
said the magistrate after a pause, and to Mr. Kit-ze ;
" especially as you have brought that at sight of which
no gentleman could break his word," and he pointed
to the streamer of yellow ribbon that Mr. Kit-ze still
held. "I remember the service. Now let me hear
the request again."
Mr. Kit-ze repeated it with all the eloquence that
heart and tongue could bestow upon it.
" Take the image from the old woman and give it to
ONE SOUL 119
the young foreigner, ' ' said the magistrate, ' ' and there
will be no cutting of her hair, ' ' he added firmly.
As he uttered the last sentence, he threw his head up
and glanced somewhat defiantly at the screen behind
which he knew his wives were sitting. But the chief
lady of his household was inexorable. Another mes-
sage came to him, and quickly. She would renounce
her desire for all of Helen' hair, but she must have
some of it. A strand would now suffice her.
"No," said Mr. Kit-ze, "no ! " and moved nearer
to Helen as though to protect her. " It must not be ! "
' ' I can spare a strand, ' ' said Helen soothingly to
Mr. Kit-ze, "without it's ever showing where it has
Then she turned to Dorothy. " Help me undo the
braids quickly, dear, and get a part of one of them.
You will know where to cut. Get a good-sized piece, ' '
she added with a smile. " We must give her her curi-
As the braids were loosened and the strands swept in
shining waves over Helen's shoulders, falling below her
waist, there was a chorus of quick exclamations, fol-
lowed by prolonged murmurs of astonishment. Only
Mr. Kit-ze groaned.
Urged by Helen, Dorothy severed the portion of
hair, which was at once conveyed to the yangban's chief
wife. They could hear the excited expressions that
sounded from behind the screen.
Mr. Kit-ze looked miserable. He stood with folded
hands mournfully regarding Helen. His eyes said
120 THE RED MIRIOK
plainly, though his lips did not, ' ' I tried to save it.
If only you had let me ! "
" Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, " how I do thank
you for "
But here she stopped, for the runner, who had at
length succeeded, with the assistance of another, in get-
ting the miriok from the old mutang was now offering it
to her. He was also demanding for the magistrate the
yen that had been mentioned.
Helen gave them to him, then reached for the miriok.
But how her hand trembled ! A pang too struck her
heart. How different Avas the feeling to that with
which she had thought she would receive the miriok if
only she could succeed in recovering it ! Though it
had been stolen from Mr. Kit-ze, yet her chief thought
when pursuing the old mutang had been of poor Choi-
So, and of how frantic he would be should the miriok
pass away from him. Now the miriok had been given
back to her. She stood there with it in her hand.
But there too stood Mr. Kit-ze, and she felt, if she
did not see, his burning glance fixed upon the image in
her clasp. How much he had dared for her ! For it
is considered a serious matter in Korea to interrupt a
magistrate in the midst of his court. With what ear-
nestness and eloquence had he pleaded for her hair,
seeming to forget even the precious miriok in his desire
to save to her that which he knew was pleasing to her-
self and a delight to her loved ones. He had even
used his one claim to the favor of the magistrate in her
ONE SOUL 121
Yes, there stood Mr. Kit-ze with burning eyes re-
garding her, and there too, not more than ten paces
away, was Choi-So. Only the moment before she had
seen him, standing at almost the same spot and in almost
the same position, his eyes riveted upon her every move-
ment. How singularly quiet he had been ! But it was,
she felt, the quiet of concentrated emotion emotion
that might at any moment break forth.
Oh, what was she to do ? A fervent prayer winged
its way upward as she thought quickly, intently. Now
of all times she must not make a mistake. The peace
of a soul, maybe in the end the peace of two souls,
was at stake. Suddenly her resolution was formed.
She would give the miriok to Mr. Kit-ze, then, when
they were released from the court and were away from
all those inquisitive eyes, she would bravely plead with
him to return it to Choi-So. She would see Choi-So
too. She would entreat him to wait and to leave it to
"Mr. Kit-ze," she said, speaking slowly and try-
ing to make each expression plain to him, " I saw the
old woman when she robbed you. I called to Doro-
thy, for I knew I had not the time to awaken you and
the others, and we chased her. Oh, how anxious we
were to get the miriok for for "
But she could not tell him yet. Besides, the magis-
trate was through with them, and was even now instruct-
ing the runners to conduct them away.
As they turned to leave the room, Helen gently
pressed the miriolc into Mr. Kit-ze's hands. ' ' Take
122 THE RED MIRIOK
it, ' ' she said ; ' ' but later, when we get away from
here, I must tell you something."
His fingers closed about it nervously, and he paused
for a moment as though his emotion at receiving it
again had overcome him. Then she heard him mur-
mur, "Wrong, wrong. I must give it back," and,
ere she could speak to him, he had moved hastily away.
Surprised, Helen, with a word to Dorothy, turned
to follow him. After so bravely coming to the rescue,
was he going to abandon them in that strange place to
make their way back to the sampan alone ?
"Stop, Mr. Kit-ze, stop ! " entreated Helen.
" Oh, do wait for us, Mr. Kit-ze! " pleaded Doro-
He paid no heed to them, only kept on ; and now
Helen, for the first time, realized whither he was going.
It was straight toward Mr. Choi-So. Her heart almost
stopped beating. "What would happen? She must
follow him and know. As she reached them, it was to
see Mr. Kit-ze holding the image toward Choi-So, and
to hear his tremulously uttered words, " Sorry. Sorry.
It was wrong. She showed me."
Then he raised his head and added another word,
but with almost pathetic entreaty, " Go ! "
"No," said Helen quickly, "no," and reached
out her hand to detain Mr. Choi-So, but too late.
With a muffled cry of joy that fell distinctly upon
the ears of those around him, Mr. Choi-So grasped the
image, dropped something into Mr. Kit-ze's hand and,
turning, sprang away. He passed swiftly through the
crowd that opened at once to let him by, believing that
he was running in search of his mind, as they expressed
"'SORRY. SORRY. IT WAS WRONG! SHE SHOWED ME.' "
it, and to their journey's end the inmates of the sam-
pan did not see nor hear of him again.
"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, " I "
124 THE EED MIRIOK
But the sentence was never finished, for a joyous cry
from Dorothy arrested her in the act of speaking the
words, and, at the same time, she felt an arm slipped
about her waist and heard a voice deep with emotion
saying, " My daughter, this has been dreadful for you. "
It was her father, and there too, was Mallard. How
rejoiced they were to find her and Dorothy safe.
Soon the story of the search for them was told, and
then Helen, for the first time, had light on a subject
that even in the midst of far more engrossing things
had caused her much wonder. This was as to how Mr.
Kit-ze had found his way to the court-room without
The old boatman had slept on until sunrise. The
other inmates too had finished their morning naps,
had performed their toilets, and were ready for break-
fast ere the disappearance of the two girls was discov-
ered. It was after repeated calls and numerous sarcas-
tic remarks on Clarence's part had failed either to
bring them forth or to win even a retort from them,
that Mr. Eeid had raised the curtain of their sleeping
apartment for an examination. But still their absence
had not caused alarm, for the first thought was that
they might be walking on the bank near by. How-
ever, as a search in that direction failed to discover
them, a well defined fear soon spread. In a short time
it became evident that they had either wandered away
and become lost or had been abducted.
It was quickly arranged that Mr. Keid, Mr. Kit-ze,
and Mallard should set off in search for them, while
ONE SOUL 125
Mr. Wilburn, Clarence, and Joyce remained to take
care of the sampan.
In the town they soon heard of the arrest ; but as
there were two magistrates, there were, of course, two
trails to follow, as no one they met seemed to know
before which one the girls had been carried. In the
eagerness of inquiry, Mr. Kit-ze became separated
from Mr. Reid and Mallard and, while they went on
the wrong trail at first, he went on the right one,
arriving almost as soon as the court had begun.
There was a joyful reunion at the sampan. Only
Mr. Kit-ze looked sad. Helen watched for the first
opportunity to speak to him when alone and said :
"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze, that was a good, brave thing you
did. How glad it has made me ! "
The gloomy look began to leave his face. He
turned toward her, a joy awakening in his eyes. " I
did it," he said, " because you told me."
" I? " asked Helen astonished. " Oh, no, Mr. Kit-
ze, I never told you."
" Not with lips, but with eyes," declared Mr. Kit-ze.
" Oh, when you looked at me so, I knew I must. I
felt it here," laying his hand with a pathetic move-
ment on his heart. " And when you talked to me,
daughter of the most honorable teacher, oh, it was like
light coming, coming, that is almost here."
' ' But how did you know that I knew about the
miriokf" she asked, now more astonished than ever.
"I heard him. The day on the bluff. Oh, how
frightened poor Kit-ze, and wretched, wretched ! "
126 THE BED MIEIOK
So he had heard Choi -So tell the story, and though
he had hotly protested against his accompanying them
as poleman, all the time vigorously declaring to himself
that he would never give up the mirioJc, yet the seeds
of better things had taken root in his heart, were even
then beginning to push their tender shoots upward.
And how Helen's deep interest, her kindness to him,
her evident concern, above all, the sweet, earnest words
she had spoken how these had brought just the nour-
ishment to make the seed grow ! The hand that no
harsh force of compulsion could ever have made give
up the idol to which it clung had brought it tremblingly
to the feet of love, won by its all-conquering power.
They turned back from the old temple above Yo-Ju
after thoroughly exploring it. They also spent a day
in Yo-Ju, where Mr. Kit-ze fortunately found a pole-
man whom he knew and in whom he had confidence.
They stopped at Mr. Ko's long enough to pick up Mr.
Chefoo, whom they found well on the road to recovery,
and to leave with their old friend some remembrances
brought from Yo-Ju.
What a joy it was to Helen, on the homeward jour-
ney, to watch Mr. Kit-ze coming more and more into
It was one afternoon, just as they were passing along
beneath the beautifully verdured bluffs that indicate
the nearness of the mountain range which encircles
Seoul, that Dorothy, slipping her arm with warm pres-
sure about Helen's waist, laid a book across Helen's
knee with a passage marked.
After a moment, Helen looked up, her eyes suffused
with tears, for this is what she had read :
Perchance in heaven, some day, to me
Some blessed saint will come and say :
" All hail, beloved, but for thee
My soul to death had fallen a prey " ;
Then oh, what rapture in the thought
One soul to glory to have brought.
SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES
HILL AND WATER COUNTRY
WILLIAM C. GRIGGS, M. D.
TO MY FRIEND
3. fl. (Suebfng, 2). 2>., 3f. 1R. ZU S.
Principal of the American Baptist College, Rangoon, and Senior
Shan Missionary, the greatest authority upon
Shan literature, and the translator of the
Bible into that language, this
little book is dedicated by
THE following stories have been taken from the great
mass of unwritten lore that is to the black-eyed, brown-
skinned boys and girls of the Shan mountain country
of Burma what "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Cin-
derella ' ' are to our own children.
The old saw as to the songs and laws of a country
may or may not be true. I feel confident, however,
that stories such as these, being as they are purely
native, with as little admixture of Western ideas as it was
possible to give them in dressing them in their garment
of English words, will give a better insight into what
the native of Burma really is, his modes of thought
and ways of looking at and measuring things, than a
treatise thrice as long and representing infinitely more
literary merit than will be found in these little tales ;
and at the same time I hope they will be found to the
average reader, at least, more interesting.
It may, perhaps, be not out of place to say a little
of the ' ( hpeas ' ' who appear so frequently in these
stories. The hpea is the Burman not, and is " a being
superior to men and inferior to Brahmas, and having
its dwelling in one of the six celestial regions " (Doc-
tor Gushing' s ' ' Shan-English Dictionary " ) . They are
universally worshiped by the inhabitants of Burma.
If a man has fever, the best thing to do is to " ling
hpea," that is, to feed the spirits, and the sufferer
therefore offers rice, betel-nut, painted sticks, etc.
Some kinds of hpeas live in the sacred banyan trees,
and frequently have I seen men, after a long day's
march in the jungle, sit shivering on the ground when
within an arm's length lay good dry fire- wood. It had
fallen, however, from a tree in which lived a hpea, and
not a man would dare touch it. Big combs of honey
may be in the nests of the wild bees, but it is safe from
the hungry traveler if it is sheltered by such a tree.
Some watch over wells, tanks, and lakes, and it is
notorious throughout the Southern Shan States, that a
promising young American missionary, who was
drowned while shooting, met his death by being dragged
to the bottom of the lake by the guardian spirit, who
had become incensed at him for killing a water -fowl on
In Shan folk-lore the hero does not "marry and live
happy ever after," but he becomes the king of the
AMERICAN BAPTIST SHAN MISSION HOUSE,
BHAMO, BUKMA, 1902.
A LATTNG KHIT 9
How BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 19
THE Two CHINAMEN 32
THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 45
How THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER 57
THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE 66
THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 78
How THE WORLD WAS CREATED 85
How THE KING OF PAGAN CAUGHT THE THIEF .... 92
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
" Each year at the Feast of Lights . . . she prayed" 10
" The man standing at the top of the tree was the long-lost
' ' Again the cunning hare deceived the tiger " 63
11 'lam nothing but a tortoise swimming in the lake ' " 67
" On his way he saw what seemed to be a bed of flowers "... 79
FOLK LORE STORIES
ONCE upon a time there was a woman who lived in
the State of Lai Hka. She was a very pious
woman and always gave the best rice and puc to the
priests as they walked, rice chattie in hand, through the
city in the early morning. Every year when the girls
and boys went to the river and filled their chatties with
water to throw over the pagodas and idols to insure a
good rainy season and abundant crops, she always had
the largest bucket of the clearest water and threw it
higher than anybody else. She carried the sweetest
flowers to the zayat every evening, and on worship days
took rice in the prettiest of cups made of banana leaves
and offered to the Gautamas in the idol-house.
But she was not happy. When her neighbors went
to the pagodas they had their little ones tied upon their
backs or running at their sides, but she had no child
whom she could take with her, none to whom she could
tell stories of the great Lord Sa Kyah who rules over
the spirits in the hpea country, and so she was sad.
She was getting old too, and often envied the women
1 " ' A Laung,' one who is progressing toward a divine state;
an incipient deity." Gushing 1 s "Shan Dictionary" p. 586.
10 FOLK LORE STORIES
who lived near who had bright boys to run errands
and girls to Jielp in the house. Each year at the Feast
of Lights, when she sent her little candle floating down
the river, she prayed for a child, but in vain.
At last she made a pilgrimage to a pagoda where
folks said was a parah who would give anything that
was asked of him. Bright and early she set out, and
on her head as an offering she carried an image of a
tiger and one of a man, and when she arrived at the 1
pagoda she offered the images and prayed for a son.
While she was praying at the pagoda, Lord Sa Kyah
heard her, took pity on her, and promised her a son.
But, alas ! when he was born, to his mother's great sor-
row, instead of being the beautiful boy she hoped for he
was nothing but a frog.
Lord Sa Kyah in order to comfort her, however, told
her that her son was really a great hpea, and that after
one year and seven months he would change into the
most handsome man in all the hill and water country.
All the women scoffed and made fun of the poor
mother, and all through the village she was called
Myeh Khit, or "Frog's Mother," but she bore their
jeers in silence and never reviled in return.
Now the king of the country had seven daughters.
All were married except one, and one day Myeh Khit
went to him to ask for this daughter in marriage for
her son. The king was of course very angry that she
should ask that his only remaining daughter should
marry a frog, but he spoke deceitfully, called his
daughter and asked her if she would be willing to ac-
A LAUNG KHIT 11
cept a frog for a husband. Like a dutiful daughter
she told him that she would "follow his words" and
do as lie wished, as she had no will apart from his.
The king then called the woman and said : " O
woman, I will give my only remaining daughter to your
son, but I make one stipulation. You must build a
road, paved and properly built, from the market-place
to my palace ; the sides must be decorated with painted
bamboos, and the work must be done within seven days
or you shall die. Now go, and prepare for the work,
and at the end of the seven days I will make ready the
marriage feast for my daughter or order the executioner
to take off your head."
In great distress Myeh Khit returned to her home
and sat down on the floor of her house and wept. All
day long she bewailed her hopeless condition. In vain
her son asked her the cause of her sorrow. Afraid of
grieving him she would not tell him ; but at last when
six out of the seven days had passed, and knowing the
fate that awaited her on the morrow, she told him how
she had gone to the king with her request, and the time
being almost expired, that she must make ready to die
on the morrow.
"The executioner's sword has already been sharp-
ened, my son," she said, "and to-day in bazaar they
were talking of it, and promising to meet one another
at the palace to-morrow when the sun should be over-
As a last resource she made ready food and sweet-
meats. She took paddy and placed it over the fire till
12 FOLK LORE STORIES
the heat broke the husks and the pure white grains ap-
peared. These she mixed with the whitest of sugar,
and as she was too poor to own plates, she went into
the jungle to where the new bamboo was bursting
through its green prison, and taking the broad cover-
ings of the new leaves she fashioned them into dishes
and offered them with many prayers for help to Lord
"Our lord knoweth that my son can do nothing,"
she cried. " He has not even hands to help, and what
can our lord's slave do to avoid the great trouble to
which I have arrived ? ' '
That night in the lovely hpea country the mighty
Lord Sa Kyah reclined on his golden throne of state.
By and by the velvet mat became so hot that he could
sit upon it no longer, and looking down he saw, squat-
ting before him on the floor, a frog.
" our lord," said the frog, " I come to remind our
lord that he is his slave's father. My mother, our
lord's slave, has arrived at great sorrow, and unless our
lord pities us and takes compassion on our lord's slave,
she will arrive at destruction to-morrow. Graciously
do this act of kindness, chief of all the hpeas."
Lord Sa Kyah took pity on his son and promised to
help him. The four strongest spirits in his kingdom
were four hpeas. They were twins and the name of the
first two was Nan Ta Re and that of the second Hte Sa
Kyung. These powerful spirits he ordered to complete
the road during the night.
The next morning when the king arose he looked
A LAUJSTG KHIT 13
forth from his palace and a most wonderful sight met
his gaze. He rubbed his eyes, for he believed they de-
ceived him. He pinched himself to see whether he was
really awake or whether he was dreaming. For a won-
derful thing had happened during the night, so wonder-
ful, in fact, that one cannot be surprised that he thought
From the bazaar to the very gate of the palace was a
broad, smooth road. On each side were brick walls
covered with the whitest of cement, and decorated with
the heads of lions, and two large griffins, built of brick
and covered also with cement, guarded the entrance.
They were more than twelve cubits high ; their mouths
were Avide open and showed their terrible fangs, and
their eyes looked upon the king with a stony glare.
The road was paved with blocks of stone cut as smooth
and laid as true as the cells of a honeycomb. There
was one road for men, one for oxen, and yet another
for horses. Zayats had been built here and there so
that travelers aweary could rest and be thankful, and
over all was a wide canopy of white cloth that extended
entirely from end to end and from side to side to pro-
tect the king from the sun when he should move along
the road to observe its wonders more closely.
In utter amazement he beat the gong that hung ready
to his side with such vigor that amats, soldiers, attend-
ants, and the people from the city, came rushing out of
their houses to the palace gates expecting at least that
the neighboring prince with whom they had long been
at war had taken the city by surprise ; but they, like
14 FOLK LOKE STORIES
the king, stood transfixed and speechless with wonder
when they saw the road with its carvings and zayats and
the canopy with the golden border spread above all.
The king called Myeh Khit. She . came, and hidden
in her turban was her son. The king had thought to
punish this presumptuous woman by giving her an im-
possible task to do with a penalty that put her beyond
the power of offending again, and was of course angry
and disappointed that his scheme had been unsuccessful ;
but the occurrence had become the common talk of the
market-place, and so he was obliged to carry out his
part of the bargain, although it had gone contrary to
his expectation and desires. So, much against his will,
he called his daughter and gave an order that for seven
days there was to be a feast in honor of the marriage of
But when the rejoicings of the people were finished,
Khit was not given permission to live in his father's
palace but was sent with his wife and mother to live in
the old house where he had been born.
Six days after the marriage there was a feast at the
pagoda, and the six daughters of the king went in
They rode upon royal elephants ; dancers danced be-
fore them ; the golden umbrellas protected them from
the sun ; and everybody fell upon their knees and
clasped their hands as the august personages went
along. Their retinue filled the street when they stopped
at the little house where their sister lived.
"0 sister," they called, "are you coming to the
A LAUNG KHIT 15
feast? " but the poor girl in great shame told them she
could not come, and when they had gone, she sat on the
floor with her face in her hands and gave way to her
While she was sobbing, her husband approached and
told her not to be sorrowful. " My father is the great
Lord Sa Kyah," said he, " and he will give me any-
thing I ask, so do not say, ' I am ashamed to go, as I
have only a frog for a husband.' You shall yet see
your proud father and unkind sisters bowing before
you and offering you presents as they offer to gods. ' '
Seeing how distressed the poor girl really was, the
Lord Sa Kyah took pity on them and descended to
earth. He brought with him wonderful white clothes
such as the hpeas wear. They were brighter than the
stars that shoot across the sky at night, or the lightning
that flashes over the heavens during the hot season.
He also gave them a magic stone, which if placed under
their tongues, would enable them to fly wherever they
The next morning was the last day of the feast when
the boat races would be rowed, when the horses of the
king and his chief amats would race for prizes, when
the best jugglers Avould show their most wonderful
tricks, and the best dancers would dance under the
booths. In the midst of the fun and excitement a great
shout rent the air : " The mighty Lord Sa Kyah is de-
scending ! ' ' and right in the middle of the feasting
there was a flash of brilliant light and two wonderful
beings alighted. They were clothed in dazzling white,
16 FOLK LORE STORIES
and flew swifter than when a kingfisher darts from a
tree toward its prey in the water.
Every one came crowding around as near as they
dared, and upon their knees offered presents of food to
the wonderful beings.
First and foremost came the princesses, who bowed
till their foreheads touched the dust ; they lifted their
clasped hands over their heads and turned away their
faces while they offered the sweetest and most savory
food to the visitors. But it was noticed that although
the spirits ate the food offered by the a/mats and com-
mon people, they would not eat that given by the prin-
cesses, but wrapped it up and placed it on one side.
The next day the princesses came to their sister's
house and derided her. ' ' wife of an animal, ' ' they
cried, ' ' you would not come to the feast, and so you
lost the chance of seeing the mighty Lord Sa Kyah de-
scend from the hpea country, ' ' and then they told of
the wonderful sight, and again made fun of their unfor-
Kbit's wife smiled at them and then she said: "It
is you who are unfortunate, not I. My husband is not
the ugly animal you think him to be, but is a great
and powerful hpea. It was not the Lord Sa Kyah who
descended yesterday, but his son, my husband, and my-
self, and to prove my words, whose are these? " and she
produced the very bundles of food that her sisters had
offered the day before to the supposed ruler of all
The sisters were surprised to see that she had the
A LAUNG KHIT 17
food there, but they laughed her to scorn when she told
them of her husband.
In order that his son should become mighty and
famous, the Lord Sa Kyah sent one of his attendants
to the king, and caused him to give an order to his
children that they should have a boat race. The one
who reached the winning post first and carried away
the flag on its rattan pole was to be king in his room,
and the one who came in last was to be slave to the
There were great preparations among the servants
of the six princesses, and many wagers were made as to
who would be successful, but none wished to wager as
to who would come in last, as all knew it would be the
"She has no boat," said they, " and has no servants
to make one, or money to buy one. Even if she had,
what could she do ? Her husband has no hands, how
could he row against and defeat the swift boatmen who
have been called by the princesses? "
The king gave seven days in which his daughters
were to prepare for the race, and during that time the
shouting of the various crews as they practised on the
lake was heard from early morning till the sun dropped
behind the mountains, but only six boats were seen.
The race was to take place on a lake at the outskirts
of the city, and on the morning of the seventh day,
when the six princesses took their stations they were
surprised to see that there was a seventh boat there, but
they did not know that it was a magic boat sent by the
18 FOLK LOEE STORIES
Lord Sa Kyali from the lipea country, and that the six-
teen rowers were not men, but hpeas.
The course was over a thousand cubits to a post,
around it, and return, and so fast did the magic boat
glide through the water that it had covered the entire
distance and the captain had laid the flag at the king's
feet before any of the other boats had reached the first
pole that showed half the distance.
But something even more wonderful than that had
taken place. During the race, the time set apart dur-
ing which the son of Myeh Khit was to have the form
of a frog had expired, and, lo ! he was now the most
handsome man in all the hill and water country. He
had a crown of gold upon his head, and the magic white
clothes such as only hpeas wear were on his person.
His wife was clothed in as beautiful a manner, and the
king, at last seeing the mistake he had made in treating
him so badly, knelt on the shore and asked : ' ' Which
lord is the son of his slave? " by which he meant, which
of the lords was the one to whom he had given his
But the Lord Khit, as he was now called, did not
take a mean revenge on his unkind brothers and sisters,
and when they came on their knees begging for their
lives, and asking the privilege of being his slaves, he
took compassion on them, and instead of ordering them
to immediate execution, made them his amats.
This is why the Shans who live in the hill and water
country worship Sau Maha Khit.
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE.
BOH HAN ME was one of the greatest generals
who ever lived in the hill and water country.
Just what his original name was nobody knows now,
but this story tells how he gained his title.
One day he went into the jungle with his wife and
his two children to gather nau, which is a kind of pue
made from the young bamboo shoots. They were very
successful in getting it, and were just on the point of
going home with their loads, when right before them
appeared a large black bear. The bear opened wide
his mouth and roared, showing his immense white teeth
and great throat, 'and came ambling toward them
growling all the while in the fiercest kind of way.
Now as soon as the man saw the bear he just threw
away all the nau that he had in his hands and ran for
his life, calling on his wife to do the same. The two
children followed their father and left their mother to
get out of her trouble as best she could. She, however,
was as brave as her husband was cowardly, and instead
of running away, she took a handful of the longest of
the shoots and thrust them down the open throat of the
bear and killed him. She then took the short sword
that they had brought from home to cut the shoots, and
with it she skinned the bear, cut him up, and made the
skin into a sack in Avhich to carry the meat.
20 FOLK LORE STORIES
Meanwhile her cowardly husband did not stop run-
ning till he reached the city in which he lived, and then
he told all his neighbors how he had been in the jungle
and a great bear had attacked them ; how he had
fought bravely for a long while, but at last it had killed
his wife and eaten her. The neighbors were very sorry
for him, but advised him to get home and fasten all the
doors and windows before the spirit of his wife would
have time to get in, for they said, seeing that she was
killed when he was with her, her ghost would without
doubt try and gain admittance to the house and haunt
it. Once in, it would be very difficult to get her out.
The man, more frightened than ever, ran home as fast
as he could and called his children to bring all the rice
that was already cooked into the house, and then they
fastened up the two doors and the one window with
bamboos and rattan. There was to be a feast in the
city that night, and the two children wanted to go and
see the fun, but their father was in such a fright that
he would not give them permission to go, or even to
look out through the holes in the sides of the house
where the bamboo matting had come unfastened and
bulged away from the posts.
By this time the sun had set and it was just getting
dark, and the man, tired with the hunt in the jungle
and the excitement after, was just going to sleep when
he heard a voice that he recognized as his wife's calling
to be let in.
" Husband, oie! " it called, " open the door and let
me in. I am very tired and hungry, and want rice and
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 21
sleep. Get up quickly. Why have you fastened up the
window and doors with bamboos and rattan? There
are no bad men around ; any one would think you were
afraid thieves were coming to-night."
The man was frightened almost to death when he
heard his wife's voice, for he felt sure it was her ghost
coming to haunt him, so he called out :
' ' Ghost of my wife, oie ! I will not let you in. If I
did I would never be able to get you out again. You
want to haunt this house. I will not let you in. Go
away, go away ! "
In vain the woman told him that she was indeed his
wife, that she was not a ghost at all, but had killed the
bear and had his skin on her back with the meat in it,
and begged to be let in ; the man would not believe her
and so she had to wait outside. All night long she
called and begged her husband to let her in, but in
vain. When the sun had risen, however, he felt a little
braver, and so he put his head out through the thatch,
and saw that it really was his wife and not her ghost.
With great joy he ran doAvn, opened the door, and let
her in, but when his wife told him how she had killed
the bear, he again became frightened.
"We have arrived at great trouble, " said he.
' ' When the people hear that you have killed a bear,
they will most surely kill you. What shall we do to
escape and be freed from the impending punishment? "
But his wife was a clever woman, and when the
neighbors came in to ask how it was that she had not
been killed, she told a wonderful story, how through
22 FOLK LORE STORIES
the bravery of her husband she had been saved ; that
he had seen the bear, and by his bravery, that was so
great it was good to marvel at, it had been driven off.
The neighbors were very pleased that so brave a man
lived in their quarter, and he became famous, people
calling him Gon Han Me, or " the man who saw the
Gon Han Me was very proud of his title, as many
other vain people have been proud of titles they never
earned, but it came near costing him his life, and this
was the way it led him into great danger. One day a
large cobra fell into the well that was in the yard be-
fore the chief door of the king's palace, and everybody
was afraid to draw water because of it. When the
amats told the king that a cobra was in the well, he
gave orders that it was to be taken out, but nobody was
brave enough to go down the Avell and kill the snake.
The chief amat was in great distress. He feared the
king would deprive him of his office if the snake were
not killed immediately. He was not brave enough to
descend himself, and money, promises, and threats were
of no avail to induce any one else to go. Everybody
declined to take the risk, and said : " Of what use is
money, or horses, or buffaloes, to a man bitten by a
cobra? Will that free him from death? Nay, go
The poor amat was at his wits' end, when at last one
of the attendants told the king that in the quarter of
the city where his sister lived, was a man so brave that
he was called Gon Han Me, and said he : " If a man is
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 23
brave enough to see a bear in the jungle aud not be
afraid, surely he will dare go down the well and kill
The king was much pleased with the attendant for
showing a way out of the difficulty. " He surely is the
man we want," said he ; "go and call him immediately
to come and destroy the snake. ' '
The attendant of the king came to Gon Han Me and
said : "Brother, oief the king has heard that you are
a very brave' man, so brave, in fact, that your neighbors
all talk of you and you have arrived at the rank of
being called ' Gon Han Me. ' Now in the royal well
there is a snake, a cobra, which as you know is called
the worst snake that lives. It is a very wicked snake
and everybody has arrived at great trouble because of
it. Nobody dares draw water there, and the king has
given orders that it is to be killed. However, no one
at the palace is brave enough to descend the well and
kill the snake, but when his majesty heard of your great
bravery, he sent me to order you to come immediately,
descend the well, and kill the cobra. He will give you
great rewards, and besides will make you a boh (officer)
in the royal army."
When Gon Han Me heard this he was in great dis-
tress and called his wife. "Wife, oie! " he said ; "this
unlucky name will certainly be the cause of my death.
It will truly kill me. The king has called me to de-
scend the royal well and kill a wicked snake that is
frightening everybody in the palace. I am not brave
enough to go. If I do not go, the king will have me
24 FOLK LORE STORIES
executed. I shall be killed whichever I do. If I go
the snake will kill me, if I do not go the king will kill
me. I shall arrive at destruction, and all because of
this miserable name."
The wife pondered awhile and then advised her hus-
band to get dressed in his best clothes and go to the
palace, look down the well to see what it was like, then
make some excuse to come back home and she would
tell him what next to do.
The man was soon dressed in his best clothes, and
was already going down the steps of the house when his
wife called out that he had left his hsmn behind him.
Now when the Shans go into the jungle, or on a journey,
they carry with them a rice-bag, or hsan. This is a long
narrow bag, more like a footless hose than anything
else, and when filled with rice it is worn around the
waist, where it looks like a big snake coiled around.
Now Gon Han Me was very proud of his rice-bag, for
instead of being made of plain white cloth, as is the cus-
tom, it was embroidered all over with different colored
wools, and was so long that it went around his waist
He was so excited and terrified that when he reached
the well he did not notice that one end had been un-
fastened and was dragging on the ground, and as he
went to the well to look over, it caught around his legs,
overbalanced him, and he went head first into the well
with a tremendous splash. The next instant the snake
lifting its head darted at him, and all that the men
above, who were waiting with breathless interest to dis-
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 25
cover how the battle would end, could hear, was an in-
finite amount of splashing, yells, and hissing. Gon
Han Me never knew how it was, but in the fall his hsan
became twisted around the neck of the snake, and in a
few minutes it was choked to death.
The man for a while could hardly believe that the
snake was really dead. It seemed too good to be true,
but he came to the conclusion that his kam l was good,
and he would yet be a great and famous man. He
therefore assumed a heroic air, and at the top of his
voice called to the men at the mouth of the well :
"Brethren, oie! I have killed the snake and thus
freed you from the great danger from which you were
suffering. I will now throw up the end of this long
rice-bag. Do you catch it and pull me and the dead
snake up to dry ground." He thereupon threw up the
end of the embroidered hsan, the men caught it, and
the next minute he appeared with the dead snake in his
The king was very pleased with Gon Han Me for his
brave act. He gave him great rewards as he had prom-
ised, and also gave order that in future he should be
known by the name of "Boh Han Me," or " the officer
who saw the bear."
Some time after this there was war between the king
and the ruler of the next province. There was a great
council called and it was unanimously agreed that as
Boh Han Me was the bravest man in the country, he
should be appointed as commander -in-chief.
1 Kam, luck, or fate.
26 FOLK LORE STORIES
When the message came to his house, however, it
caused him great distress, for as he told his wife, he did
not want to be killed in the least ; he did not wish to
run the risk of being killed or even hurt. Besides he
had never been on horseback in his life. He had a
buffalo that ploughed his fields, and it is true that occa-
sionally, tired with the day's work, he had ridden home
on its back when the sun sank into the west, but he was
sure that if he got on the back of a horse it would im-
mediately divine that he was ignorant of the art of
riding, did not man as he said, and he would be thrown
to the ground and hurt, killed maybe. Who could
Again his clever wife came to the rescue. "You
must go to the fight whether you want to or not, ' ' said
she. "The king has given orders and he must be
obeyed. To disobey the king is more dangerous than
seeing a bear or even fighting a snake, so go you must.
As to riding, that is easily managed. Bring your pony
here and I will show you how to ride without danger. ' '
On the never-to-be-forgotten day when the whole
family went into the jungle to gather nau, they were
very poor, but since the fight with the snake in the well,
they had become rich, and so now the boh had servants
to do his bidding, and he therefore called one of them
to saddle his pony and bring it to the door of his house.
This was soon done. He took his seat, and then his
wife took long pieces of rawhide and fastened his legs,
from ankle to knee, on both sides to the stirrups and
girths. She knotted them securely so that there would
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 27
be no chance of his falling off his steed. He was very
pleased that he had such a clever wife, who could help
him out of every trouble into which he might fall, and
rode aAvay well pleased with himself, and soon reached
the place where the soldiers were assembled awaiting his
appearance before beginning the march.
To have seen him nobody would have thought that
he was frightened sick. He sat up bravely, and you
would have thought that he was the best horseman in
all the hill and water country, but all the time he was
turning over in his mind the advice given by his wife
when they talked it over the night before. This was
what she said to him : " Now, when you get to the sol-
diers, see them start off: Give all the orders in a very
loud, pompous tone. Talk high, and and they will think
you mau very much (are very clever). Then you can
easily find some excuse to get to the rear, and you must
stay there till the fighting is all finished. ' '
There was one party to this arrangement, however,
that they had both failed to take into account when
making their plans, and that was the pony. They
neither remembered that there was a possibility of the
pony taking it into his head to carry his master where
the latter did not want to go, but that was just what
happened, for, when the pony saw all the other horses
and the men marching off, he too commenced to move
forward. He was a fine big pony and was accustomed
to head processions, not to come at the tail end, and so
he started off of his own accord. Now we have said that
his rider had never been on horseback before, but had
28 POLK LORE STORIES
often ridden his buffalo from the paddy field when the
clay's work of ploughing was over. When a man on a
buffalo wishes to stop, he jerks the rope that is fastened
to the animal's nose, and obedient to the signal, it stops.
So, when the bo h found his steed forging ahead a little
faster than suited him, he jerked the reins, expecting
the pony to stop, but to his consternation, he found it
go all the faster. He jerked harder, the pony broke
into a quick trot. He jerked again, the pony began to
gallop. He was now thoroughly frightened and called
out at the top of his voice, but this only frightened the
pony more and it began to gallop just as fast as ever it
could, and worse than all, it headed straight for the
enemies' soldiers, whom he could see in the distance get-
ting ready to receive him. He cursed his wife with all
his heart. If he could only fall off ! She had taken
too good precautions against that. He pulled and
tugged, but the rawhide was strong ; the knots were too
tight ; and every minute brought him nearer to his en-
emies. He could hear the shouts of his friends in the
distance getting fainter and fainter as the distance in-
creased, calling him to come back. How he wished
he could ! He swayed from side to side, first on
one flank then on the other. The pony now had its
head down between its knees, the bit between its teeth,
and was tearing along like the wind. It would be hard
to say which was the more frightened, the horse or its
rider ; each frightened the other. But there Avas a
lower depth yet to be reached. In jumping over a hole
the saddle slipped to the side, the next instant away it
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 29
went, turned, and saddle, rider, and all slipped clear
around, and Boh Han Me found himself still securely
lashed to the saddle, squarely under his horse instead
of on it.
Meanwhile in the camp of the enemy a council of war
was being held. ' ' Can any one tell me, ' ' asked the
king, " who commands our foes? "
"Our lord," said one of the amats, "it is a man who
has been picked out of the whole army, and is the
bravest man who ever drew a sword. He is called Boh
Han Me because he conquered a great fierce bear in the
jungle. He also went down a well in the royal palace
and killed the largest and fiercest snake ever seen in all
the hill and water country. ' '
The king was much disquieted when he heard of the
prowess of this man, and was pondering whether it
would not be better to fight with silver than steel, and
offer a great reward to any man in the enemies' camp
who would bring to him the head of this doughty sol-
dier, when he heard a great shout. He sprang to the
tent door and looked anxiously out. All eyes were
bent in one direction and a look of intense wonder, not
unmixed with fear, sat on each face. The king nat-
urally expected to see the whole army of the enemy ap-
proaching in overwhelming numbers, but he shared the
wonder of his soldiers when he saw, not an army, but
one single man dashing toward him. The next instant
the rider disappeared entirely, but the horse came on
faster than before. Next instant there was the rider
again, arms tossing in the air, hair streaming behind,
30 FOLK LORE STORIES
only to disappear the following moment in the same
The face of the king blanched with terror as he asked
in a whisper, " Who is this man? "
A hundred voices cried : "It is Boh Han Me, the
bravest man alive ! He has some charm that makes
him invisible whenever he wishes, and he cannot be hurt
by sword or arrow."
Nothing spreads so quickly as a panic, and almost
before the king was aware of it, he was carried away in
the fierce rush to escape. His men were blind with
fear ; they threw away their arms ; men and officers fled
for their lives, their only thought to flee from that horse
and its terrible rider who disappeared and reappeared
in such an awful fashion, and in a few minutes the field
was deserted and the whole army in full retreat.
The horse by this time was exhausted. It stumbled,
but regained its feet only to fall again immediately. It
made another effort to struggle to its feet, but this time
unsuccessfully, and then lay still on its side, its flanks
heaving and its breath coming and going in quick sobs.
Very cautiously Boh Han Me drew a knife and slowly
cut one knot. The horse did not stir. Another fol-
lowed, and soon one leg was freed. This made the task
easier, and soon both legs were cut from their bonds and
he sprang to his feet, bruised and sore, it is true, but no
bones broken, and only too glad to be on solid earth
again, and he vowed he would never from that day
forth ever get on anything that moved faster than a
HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 31
What the king said when he reached the place where
the foes had encamped may be imagined. He declared
that a man as brave as his general had never lived in
any age or country. For one man to charge a whole
army, and, what was more, drive it off too, was a thing
good to marvel at, and Boh Han Me did the wisest
thing he ever did in his life, he just held his peace.
When they had gathered together the spoil they returned
home with the hero by the side of the king. The latter
gave him a grand palace with gold, silver, oxen, buf-
faloes, elephants, and slaves in abundance, and also the
rank of Boh Hoh Sok, which is the highest rank of gen-
eral in the army, and means, ' ' head of all the troops. ' '
The happy man lived many, many years, but he kept
his promise, and whenever he wished to travel he rode
upon an elephant and never again as long as he lived
got upon the back of a horse.
THE TWO CHINAMEN.
AGES ago, when this world was new, having been
created but a short while, two Chinese boys left
their native country and started out on their travels to
discover things new and strange. After wandering for
many days they came to the hill and water country
where the Shans live. Here they found a monastery,
where lived very wise and learned priests, who in-
structed them in many ways.
They lived here some time and won the esteem of the
head priest to such an extent that he showed them a
magic sword and bow that had lain in the monastery
many years waiting for somebody to carry away. The
law was that the man who could bend the bow or could
draw the sword from its sheath should keep it.
The elder brother went to the sword and tried to
draw it. He pulled, he tugged, he strained, till the
sweat ran down his face, but in vain. He could not
draw it out one inch.
Seeing the ill success of his elder brother, the younger
thought it impossible for him to draw the magic sword,
but at his brother's command he took the handle in his
hand and pulled with all his might. To everybody's
surprise out came the magic sword, and the Chinaman
walked away in triumph.
The elder brother now made up his mind that if he
THE TWO CHINAMEN 33
could not get the sword lie would try for the bow, and
he might have more success with that, so he exerted all
his strength, and slowly, slowly bent it, till the cord
was taut and the bow all ready to shoot.
The people of the city were amazed that the two
brothers should have such strength and good luck, and
many envious eyes followed them as they again set out
on their journey, carrying their trophies with them.
They traveled on and on till they gave up counting
the distance, it was so great, till one day, as they were
resting on the banks of a large river in a far country,
they saw a great fish swimming in the water. It was
so great that nobody heretofore had been able to catch
it, and it was in fact the king of all the fishes. It
broke all the nets and smashed all the traps. It
snapped all the lines that were set for it, and no-
body was strong enough to pull it ashore when it did
take the hook. The Chinamen saw it, and the elder
brother instantly strung his bow, put on a bolt, and
shot the great fish as it was swimming in the shallow
water. In a few minutes he had it on his shoulder,
and they commenced to cross the bridge to the other
side of the river.
Now the river was very wide, the current was very
swift, and the bridge was not at all strong. It was
only made of bamboos and rattan and swung from side
to side as the men crossed it. When they got to the
middle it began to creak and strain till the two trav-
elers were in great fear it would break. The one who
had killed it turned to his brother and said :
34 FOLK LOEE STOEIES
" brother, the fish is so heavy I am afraid the
bridge will break. Please draw your magic sword and
cut it in halves, and then we will be able to get to the
other side in safety. "
The younger brother therefore drew his sword and
cut the fish in halves ; but he did not yet know how
sharp the sword was, for he cut the fish in halves, it is
true, but not only that, but the whole bridge as well,
so that his brother fell into the water and was imme-
diately swept from his sight. On his part he could not
of course cross, now the bridge was down, so he re-
turned to the same side of the river and ran along the
bank looking to see whether his brother would be swept
ashore in some shallow place ; but although he ran till
he was exhausted and then traveled for many days by
the side of the river through the jungle, he could dis-
cover no trace of his lost brother.
Swiftly down the stream his brother was carried.
He tried to swim first to one bank and then to the
other as the current swept him along, but in vain. At
last he gave up trying. Nobody knows just how long
he was in the water, but for many days he floated, and
when he was on the point of dying from exhaustion,
cold, and hunger, his feet touched bottom, and, more
dead than alive, he crawled up the bank to dry land.
He found that he had landed near a garden, and, on
climbing over the wall, he discovered that it belonged
to the king. He was too tired to climb back again,
however, so sank on the ground and the next instant
fell asleep from sheer weariness.
THE TWO CHINAMEN 35
Now it happened that the king of that country had
just died, and his amats had taken out the royal chariot
and were drawing it around the city looking for the
proper person to become king. As they went along
they saw this young man sleeping in the royal garden
with his magic bow beside him. He had come from
nobody knew where. He was so strong that the river
even could not kill him. Above all, he had a wonder-
ful magic bow which none of the amats or nobles could
bend, so they came to the conclusion that he indeed
was the man who should be king of the country, and
he was crowned with great pomp and magnificence.
The other brother had been left standing on the
bridge when the elder fell into the water, as we have
said, and for many days he followed the river bank till
he too arrived in a far country. It was a very strange
country. There were no men there, only monkeys, but
they were the very cleverest monkeys that ever lived,
and were ruled over by a nang me prah, that is, a
queen, just as men are ruled. This queen of the mon-
keys fell in love with the Chinaman and married him,
so that he became king of Monkey Land. They built
a palace for him on the top of the highest tree-in the
jungle. Every seventh day they brought him food.
Some brought plantains, some mangoes, some rice, and
some fish fresh caught in the river.
The elder brother had now been king of the country
Avhere he had landed for some years, and one day he
remembered his younger brother, whom he had left
standing on the broken bridge with the sword in his
36 FOLK LORE STORIES
hand. He therefore called his amats and told them he
was going on a long journey, and that they must rule
well and justly till he returned. He then called his
favorite servants and set out to discover his brother.
They had a great store of provisions carried by coolies.
He had his royal elephants, on which he could ride
when traveling over the steep mountain roads and to
carry his chief queens, and ponies for riding over the
One night, however, he became separated from his
followers and lost his way. He shouted and called, but
shouted and called in vain. He could not find a trace
of them. Servants, horses, elephants, and goods were
all gone, and he was in great fear that he would die in
the jungle. When morning broke he was much sur-
prised to see that he had arrived at a city, but that the
houses were all built on the tops of the trees, and on
looking closer, he discovered that instead of people
living in these houses the inhabitants were all large
monkeys. Not a man was to be seen, and the monkeys
were very fierce and screamed at him in anger from the
top of every tree. One especially he noticed as being
more fierce than any of the others, and he accordingly
leveled his magic bow and shot it dead. As it fell
from the tree to the ground he heard all the friends of
the dead monkey come rushing out of their houses on
the tops of the trees calling to one another that a man
had killed one of their brethren, and asking that their
friends would come to kill the man who had been guilty
of the deed.
THE TWO CHINAMEN 37
After a little time the king came to a tree that was
taller than any other in the jungle, and upon it was a
palace. Stairs led from the door of the palace to the
ground, and as he looked more closely he saw a man
up there. In great joy he called out to him, asking to
be directed. "I am the king of a far country," he
said, " and I am on a journey to search for my brother,
whom I have not seen for many, many years. Last
night I lost my way. Will you take pity on me and
show me the way and I will give you a great reward ? ' '
"Who was your brother?" asked the man in the
"He was a Chinese student," returned the king,
' ' and he had a wonderful magic sword. One day as
we were traveling he cut a great fish in two, but such
was the virtue residing in the magic sword that he not
only cut the fish in halves but the bridge as well, so I
left him standing on the end of the bridge."
You may imagine how pleased the king was when he
discovered that the man standing at the top of the tree
was the long-lost brother for whom he was searching,
and he made ready to ascend to his house in the tree-
At that moment a little monkey ran down the tree
toward him, and he kicked it aside, saying, " Out of
my way, little monkey."
The small monkey in great anger said : "I am not a
monkey, but your nephew. ' '
" My nephew ! " exclaimed the king in great aston-
ishment. ' ' What do you mean by that ? ' '
38 FOLK LORE STORIES
His brother, the monkey king, then explained to
him that he had married the queen of all the monkeys
and that this was their child, that he ruled over all the
monkeys, who had built this palace for him and every
seventh day brought him tribute of food.
"I am sorry to say, then," said the elder brother,
" that I have killed one of your subjects," and at the
same moment the wife and son of the dead monkey ap-
proached their king.
" Our lord," said they, " the man yonder has been
guilty of a great crime. He entered the domains of our
lord and although we did nothing to him, yet he raised
his bow and killed one of the servants of our lord.
Therefore our lord's servants demand that he shall be
' ' I am very sorry, ' ' said the king of the monkeys,
"that you have killed that special monkey. He was
very clever and brave. He was also one of my chief
amats, and his friends will assuredly kill you. ' '
The monkeys were now assembling by hundreds and
calling to each other everywhere. Every treetop ap-
peared alive with angry figures all calling for vengeance
on the man who had killed their friend.
The king, however, who had taken sides with his
brother, was not afraid, and said he could kill all the
monkeys in the country ; and he drew his sword and
cut in halves the monkey nearest to him. To his
great surprise, however, the two halves of the mon-
key he had killed each, became a whole monkey and
attacked him again, so that he now had two to fight in-
THE TWO CHINAMEN 39
stead of one. If he cut off the hand or leg of a
monkey with his long sword, it immediately turned
into two, and he soon saw that unless he devised some
other way of fighting them they would soon kill them
He therefore rushed off to the jungle and got a great
hollow bamboo. He then went to a bees' nest and
swept all the bees into it, and caught a great many scor-
pions and centipedes, snakes and spiders. When the
monkeys came toward him to renew the fight, he opened
one end of the bamboo and the insects and reptiles,
swarming out, very angry at being kept prisoners in the
hollow bamboo, soon drove the monkeys off so that the
two brothers were .able to escape. Shortly afterward
they found the escort of the king and together returned
to the city where the good elder brother made the
younger his chief amat.
Now when the younger brother became amat, he of
course saw what a great king his brother was. He saw
his subjects kneel before him ; he saw the royal ele-
phants, oxen, horses, and buffaloes ; he saw the riches
in money, jewels, and goods that belonged to him ; that
his queens were the most beautiful women in the land ;
and he became jealous. Then he coveted all these
things. The next step was easy ; he determined to kill
his brother and become king in his stead. Then he
began to ponder and plot how best he could destroy the
brother who had been so good to him. He did not re-
member how that same brother had left all these things
to come and hunt for him ; how he had given him
40 POLK LOEE STORIES
riches and honor and position, so that now he was chief
minister and next to him in power. No, he did not
think of any of these things, but like the ungrateful
man that he was, thought only that his brother had
more than he.
He soon came to the conclusion that he could not
kill his brother in the city, for everybody loved the
king, and he feared that his crime would be discovered,
so he was obliged to wait until they should be alone in
the jungle together. The opportunity soon came.
One day the king was out hunting and had gotten
separated from all his followers. His brother the amat
was a short distance ahead when he saw, just in front of
him, a very deep hole, so deep in fact that it was im-
possible to see the bottom. In great excitement he
turned and beckoned to the king as fast as he could,
calling out in a loud voice that he had something very
wonderful to show him.
The king thought that at least he had discovered a
mountain of rubies and came running up. He knelt
by the side of the hole but could see nothing.
' ' There is nothing down there, ' ' said he.
" Let our lord lean a little farther over," said the
cunning amat. "He will then see the most wonderful
thing in the world."
The king bent farther over and his Avicked brother
gave him a push that sent him headlong to the bottom.
He had now succeeded in all his plans ; he had
reached the height of his ambitions, but although he
became king he was not happy. He had trouble all
THE TWO CHINAMEN 41
the time. It is true he had his brother's riches, that he
rode the royal elephants, wore the royal robes, and
lived in the royal palace, but he had trouble with his
amats, with his soldiers, and his people, and therefore
instead of being happy as he expected he would be, he
was unhappy and miserable.
If he had only known what was happening in the
jungle he would have been more anxious still. His
brother was not dead as he thought. The fall to the
bottom of the hole did not kill him and he was only a
prisoner. His followers had all gone back to the city
with his wicked brother. He called, but called in vain.
He heard nothing but the echo of his own cries, and
he was about to give up in despair, when it happened
that the mighty Lord Sa Kyah coming through the
jungle heard his cries and inquired the cause. The
king did not know that this was the Lord Sa Kyah, but
told him all that had happened. Lord Sa Kyah was
very angry with the king's heartless brother and created
at the bottom of the hole a lily of the kind that has a
very long stalk. The king sat upon the blossom of the
lily which then began to grow very rapidly, and as it
grew carried the king up toward, the mouth of the hole.
As he gradually rose toward daylight he saw that a
tree was growing at the very edge of the pit, and that
some of the branches hung over. He saw also that a
monkey was busily engaged in feeding on the leaves and
fruit. The lily, of course, made no noise as it pursued
its upward path ; the king also kept quiet so as not to
frighten the monkey, and when he was near enough
42 FOLK LORE STORIES
suddenly put forth his hand and caught it by the tail.
The monkey screamed and kicked, fought and scratched,
but in vain ; the king held on, and at last the monkey
climbed down the tree taking the king with him, and
the latter was speedily standing once more on solid
ground and able to offer up his thanks to the mighty
Lord Sa Kyali.
The king was not long in reaching the city and when
he arrived, to his great sorrow he saw, as he expected,
his ungrateful brother reigning, while the people all sor-
rowed for their old king. He determined to wait
awhile before he declared himself, feeling that the Lord
Sa Kyah who had already once helped him when in
trouble and danger would aid him in regaining his lost
kingdom ; so he went into the poorest part of the city,
put on the poorest and most ragged clothes that he
could find, and sat near the gate of the city begging,
from whence he often saw his brother riding by in state.
One day the heralds came riding by and stood in the
open space fronting the market where the gambling
booths are, and gave notice that the king had com-
manded that if anybody could bend the magic bow be-
longing to the late king, his brother, he was to be
made the chief amat of the kingdom and receive many
and great presents besides.
As may be imagined, the next day there was a great
crowd gathered together at the great gate of the palace,
waiting for the king. At last out he came with all his
ministers and followed by attendants bearing golden
umbrellas. Behind him came a soldier carrying over
THE TWO CHINAMEN 43
his shoulder the magic bow which was placed at the
king's feet. The king called upon his soldiers to come
and bend the bow, and the strongest of them came for-
ward, but although they pulled and tugged, tugged and
strained, they could not bend it. Then the people of
the city, or "the king's people," as they loved to call
themselves in contradistinction to the people who lived
in the jungle villages, tried, but met with no better suc-
cess than the soldiers. They could not bend the bow.
The king then ordered the amat long to call the men
from the jungle. The very strongest coolies, those who
carried heavy burdens over the mountains, came in an-
swer to the king's summons, but although some of them
could carry fifty soie over the highest mountain they
could not draw the cord a hand's-breadth.
The king, much disappoineed, was about to return to
the palace when a beggar man approached and bowing
at his feet said he was able to draw the bow and fire an
arrow from it. The king was angry at what he thought
was the presumption of this beggar. The soldiers de-
rided him, saying that the bravest of them could not
draw the bow and how was a beggar to do it ? The
coolies also asked him whether he could carry fifty soie
over Loi Mawk Pali that was called the Cloud Moun-
tain, because its head was often in the clouds. But the
beggar asked to be allowed to try and the king gave
orders that he should be given the bow, at the same
saying that he assuredly should be made amat long if
he was successful, but if he could not bend the bow, he
should be put to death immediately.
44 FOLK LORE STORIES
The beggar assented to these terms and seized the
bow. He took hold of the string and without any
show of strength pulled it a hand's-breadth, and then
as the king and his courtiers looked on in amazement he
pulled it to its full length, placed the string on the
ivory trigger, put an arrow on it, and asked the king
where he should shoot.
"Straight up into the air," said the king. The
beggar raised the bow, twang went the string, and the
arrow whizzed out of sight. Everybody stood looking
up into the sky when suddenly one of the courtiers
gave a warning cry. It came too late. The arrow had
gone straight up, turned, and fell almost on the same
spot from whence it was shot. Almost, but not quite,
for in its fall it struck the upturned face of the king
and he fell dead.
A great cry was raised as the king fell and the
guards rushed forward to seize the beggar and lead him
to immediate execution, but he waved them off with a
gesture of his hand. The next instant his rags fell
from him and he stood before them in the royal robes
of a king.
Thus we see that the younger brother, although in-
deed he had not murdered his brother the king, yet did
kill him in his thoughts and intentions, and he suffered
the punishment that is always meted out to the man
who kills his fellow.
STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM TJNG
THERE was once a king who reigned over one of
the largest States in the hill and water country.
For a long time there had been war between him and
the sau hpa of the neighboring State, but at last his
soldiers had been successful, and his enemy had been
driven out of his possessions, which had thereupon been
added to his own. A great feast had been given when
his soldiers returned to their homes, and he was now
sitting with his queens and his seven daughters in the
palace watching a performance given in honor of the
victory. He praised the actors for their skill, and then
asked his daughters whether they had enjoyed the per-
formance. They one and all assured him that they
had enjoyed it much, and then turning to them he
"That is right, my daughters, enjoy yourselves to-
day and to-morrow and all through your lives. You
are the daughters of a mighty king, and it is your lot
to be happy and enjoy yourselves all your lives, there-
fore again I say enjoy yourselves and be happy."
The eldest of the daughters, who was a perfect cour-
tier said : " our lord, our luck is fortunate, because
it depends on that of the lord our father, and who is so
fortunate as he ? "
The king was very pleased with the flattery of his
46 FOLK LOBE STORIES
daughter, and promised to grant any request she would
make of him.
The youngest daughter, however, was young and
foolish, and had not yet learned the truth that in a
king's presence it is not well always to say what one
thinks, and therefore she said to her sister: "Your
luck may depend on the luck of the lord our father,
but mine is my own and depends upon myself alone. ' '
When the king heard this he was very angry that
one of his daughters, and she the youngest too, should
have the presumption to say that she depended for any-
thing at all on any other tlr^. he, and he determined
to punish her.
For a long time he pondered on the best way to do
this and at last devised a plan which, if severe, was at
He called his amats to go throughout the whole land
and search for the poorest man in all his kingdom, and
when they had found him they were to bring him to
the palace and he would marry his youngest daughter
to him, and then, said he, "We will see about luck
Day after day the heralds searched the land but they
could not find a man poor enough to suit the king.
All who were brought before him acknowledged that
they had something valuable, either a little money, a
precious stone, or a distant relative who was rich and
from whom they could borrow a little if necessary. A
man of this description would not suit the angry king.
He wanted one poorer than that.
STOEY OF THE PRINCESS N.ANG- KAM UNG 47
At last the amat long, or chief minister, brought a
man before him and said that he was the poorest in all
the land. His name was Ai Du Ka Ta. He was a
woodseller in the bazaar, who every day went into the
jungle and picked up the dead branches of the trees
that had fallen to the ground, and brought them to the
market every fifth day to sell. So poor was he that he
did not even own the sword that is the almost insep-
arable companion of the Shan and is used, among other
things, to cut down the small trees that are left to dry
for firewood, so he had to be content to pick up the
small branches that he found under the trees, and got
a proportionately small price when he carried his load
into the bazaar.
When he appeared before the king, his trousers were
all fringed at the bottom where they had been torn by
the thorns in the jungle. His turban months before
had been white, but now it was a deep gray ; it was only
half its original length and was full of holes. Jacket
he had none, and when the king asked him how many
blankets he had upon his bed at home to keep him
warm at night when the cold wind brought the rain up
the valley, he answered sorrowfully, "Not one, our
lord." He had no relative except an old mother whom
he was obliged to support, and who was known through-
out the district in which she lived as the woman with
the bitterest tongue in all the land, and when too sick
to move from her mat, she would yet fill the air with
The king was very pleased with his amat long for
48 FOLK LOBE STORIES
finding Ai Du Ka Ta, and gave him a very fine horse
as a reward. Then he called his daughter, took away
all her fine clothes and married her to this poorest man
in his realm and drove her out of the palace amid the
jeers and taunts of the very people who, before her dis-
grace, had waited upon her every word and had done
her bidding while they trembled before her. The king
also took away her old name and commanded that in
future she was to be known as Nang Kam Ung, which
means, " The woman whose luck depends upon herself. "
The house, or rather hut, to which Ai Du Ka Ta
took his bride was in the jungle. It was only four
bamboo poles stuck in the ground and covered with
dried grass and bushes. Not even a sleeping mat was
on the ground there was no floor and the chattie in
which he cooked his rice had a hole in it, and had to
be set upon three stones sideways over the fire with the
hole uppermost, to prevent the water leaking and put-
ting out the fire.
Fortunately the girl's mother had helped her to
smuggle out her "birth -stone," which was a large,
valuable ruby, and so she took it off her finger and
gave it to her husband, telling him to go and sell it
and buy clothes and food for both of them.
Ai looked at the stone and said, ' ' Who will give me
food and clothes for a little red stone like that ? We
have no fools or mad men living near here who would
do such a foolish thing as that," for you must remem-
ber he had lived in the jungle all his life, and had never
heard of precious stones, much less seen one till now.
STORY OF THE PRINCESS JSTANG- EAM UNG 49
His friends were just as ignorant of its value as he was.
He went from house to house in the little village near,
but all laughed at him till he became disgusted, threw
the stone away in the jungle and came home in a very
ill humor with his wife for leading him such a wild-
goose chase, and making him appear foolish in the eyes
of the few people he knew.
His wife was in great distress when she found that he
had thrown the ruby away, and told her husband that
if he had gone to the city and taken it to the jewelers,
instead of to the ignorant people in the jungle, they
would have given him in return enough money to keep
them in food and clothing all the hot season and build
a new house into the bargain.
Ai looked at her and said : "Indeed, that is a thing
good to marvel at. Why, I know where there are
coolie-basket loads of such red stones in the dry bed of
a river near where I gather sticks for fire-wood in the
jungle, waiting for anybody to carry away, and I never
thought them worth the labor of taking to the bazaar. ' '
The princess was full of joy when she heard this, and
the next morning they borrowed two coolie baskets from
a man in the village. Bright and early they went to
the river bed, and there, even as Ai had said, were
basket loads of fine rubies. They gathered them up
carefully and buried most of them, covering over the
hole with a flat stone, so that no one would discover
their hoard, and then the princess, picking out a double
handful of the largest and clearest ones, sent them to
50 POLK LORE STORIES
The king, when he saw the jewels, instead of being
pleased, fell into a great passion, called the unfortunate
amat long into his presence, and after rating him
soundly, deprived him of all his goods, houses, and
lands, deposed him from office, and drove him from his
presence as poor as Ai himself had been.
" I ordered you to call a poor man," roared the king
to the trembling man before him. ' ( I said he was to
have no goods or property at all, and here the very
next day he sends me a double handful of the very best
rubies I ever saw in my life."
In vain the culprit assured the king that the day be-
fore Ai was certainly the poorest man in the whole
kingdom, and complained that the jewels must have
been the work of some hpea, whom he had unwittingly
offended, and who had therefore determined on his ruin
in revenge. The king would listen to no excuse, and
the unhappy amat was glad to crawl from his presence
before resentment had carried him to the length of or-
dering his execution.
The very next night a wonderful golden deer entered
the royal garden where the king was accustomed to sit
when it became too warm in the palace, and after doing
an immense amount of mischief, eating favorite flowers,
and otherwise destroying and ruining the garden, it
leaped over the fence and disappeared in the eaiiy
morning fog, just as the guards were arousing them-
selves from sleep. It was in truth not a golden deer as
the guards had told the king, but a hpea that had as-
sumed this form ; but the king not knowing this ordered
STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG- 51
his heralds to go through the city immediately and call
upon all the inhabitants to come early next morning to
help their lord catch it. Ai was summoned with the
rest of the people. He had no horse, but going to the
city gate that day he saw that a race between horses
belonging to the king was about to be run. Ai was a
good horseman, and asked the head horse-feeder of the
king to let him ride one of the animals. He rode, and
rode so well that he won the race, and that official was
so pleased with him that he promised to grant him any
request in his power. Ai asked for the privilege of
riding the same horse at the hunt next day, and the re-
quest was readily granted, and thus it happened that,
next morning when he went to the place appointed, he
rode a horse that was faster than any other there ex-
cept the one the king himself rode.
The people were divided into four parties ; one toward
the north, one toward the south, one east, and one
west. The king stationed himself with the party at
south, and the amats were at the north, and when the
deer was at last driven out of the jungle by the beaters
it headed toward the king and dashed by him at great
The hpea that had taken the form of the deer wished
to have some fun at the king's expense, and therefore
kept ahead just where the king could see him all the
while, sometimes but a cubit or two away from him;
and then when the country was open, darting far in
advance. So swiftly did they go that in a few minutes
the men on foot Avere left behind, and after a while all
52 FOLK LOBE STORIES
except those upon the very fastest horses were dis-
tanced, till at last only the king and Ai were left, the
latter but a little behind the king. All day long the
chase continued till, just as the sun was setting and
men and horses were both exhausted, the deer made
straight for a precipice that appeared to block the path
on each hand as far as the eye could reach. The king
was congratulating himself that the deer could not pos-
sibly escape now, when he saw right before him an
opening in the rock, and the next instant the hpea dis-
appeared in the cave and the king was obliged to give
up the chase, for even if his horse could have carried
him any farther, which it could not, the cave was so
dark that nothing could be seen inside.
The king fell from his horse almost dead with fatigue,
and managed to crawl under a wide-spreading banyan
tree that grew near. The only other person there was
Ai, and he, coming to the king, massaged his limbs till
the tired monarch fell asleep. After a while he awoke
and Ai asked him to eat some rice he had prepared,
but the king said he was too tired to eat anything ; but
at last he managed to eat a little sweet, glutinous rice
that the princess had cooked in a hollow piece of bam-
boo and given to her husband before he set out that
The king was very grateful and asked Ai his name ;
but the latter was afraid to tell what his real name was,
so, as his mother years before had been in the habit of
selling betel-nut in the bazaar, he told the king that
his name was Sau Boo, or betel-nut seller.
STORY OF THE PEINCESS NANG KAM UJSfG 53
The king was very pleased with him and promised
him great rewards when they got back to the palace ;
but in a few minutes he had dropped asleep again, and
Ai sat alone keeping guard.
It was very fortunate that he too did not go to sleep,
for as every one knows, the banyan is a sacred tree,
and this one was inhabited by a hpea who was noted
for being one of the cruelest and most dreaded spirits in
all the land. Ai roused the king and told him there
was a hpea in the tree and begged him not to sleep
there for it would assuredly kill them both before morn-
The king said, "Wake me not, trouble me not.
From my head to my feet, I am nothing but aches and
pains. Were I to move I should die. I may as well
die at the hands of the hpea." So saying he fell asleep
again, and Ai did not dare to disturb him, but watched
all night long.
During the night Ai heard the hpea grumbling to
himself several times and promising himself the pleasure
of killing them on the morrow, so he pretended to be
asleep so that he could hear what the hpea said and if
possible thwart him.
" These mortals have presumed to sleep under my
tree," he heard him say, " but it shall be the last time
they sleep anywhere. Let me see," he continued,
" how shall I kill them ? Which will be the best way ?
Ah, I know. Early to-morrow when they get ready to
leave, I will break the tree in two, and the top shall
fall on them. If, however, they escape, I will saw
54 FOLK LORE STORIES
through the supports of the first bridge, so that it will
break when they are in the middle, and they will fall
to the bottom of the valley below. Then if that should
fail, I will loosen the stones of the arch of the city gate
so that it will fall on them as they pass underneath,
and if that does not kill them, when the king arrives at
his palace, and being thirsty with his long ride calls for
water, I will change the water in the goblet to sharp
needles that will stick in his throat and kill him. If
he does not drink the water, however, he will assuredly
be very tired and will go to sleep immediately, and I
will send an immense rat into his room that will kill
him without doubt."
Having finished making his plans, the hpea left the
tree and started the work of preparing the different
traps for the mortals who had enraged his hpeaship by
daring to sleep under the tree, and thus profane his
The king was frightened half to death when he awoke
next morning, and found that he had been sleeping all
night under the tree of that special hpea; but Ai, or
San Boo as the king called him, told him not to be
frightened for he could save his life if the king would
only follow his advice and do as he told him.
The king promised to follow his words implicitly, and
also promised him unheard-of rewards if he only helped
him to get to his palace in safety.
The first danger was the tree, and so Ai got their
horses ready and under the pretense of allowing them
to eat grass before setting out on their journey, he
STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 55
gradually worked them nearer and still nearer the
edge of the tree, and then, with one bound, they, both
galloped out from under it. At the same instant there
was a great crash and the whole top of the tree fell to
the ground. So near did it fall on them that the king's
turban was torn from his head by one of the upper
branches, but beyond this no harm was done.
Next, instead of riding over the bridge, they went
along the bank a little distance, and soon found a place
where the link was narrow and leaped their horses to
the other side. While they were jumping, Ai threw a
heavy stone he had brought with him on to the bridge,
and the hpea, who fortunately was near-sighted, think-
ing it was the tread of the horses, broke it down, so
that fell into the water fifty feet below, but the king
and his follower were safe on the other side.
The next danger was the city gate. They walked
their ponies slowly as though they were very tired, till
they came to within a cubit of the gate, and then gal-
loped through at the top of their speed, and crash went
the gateway behind them. They were covered with
dust but not hurt.
The king was very thankful to have arrived at his
palace and being very thirsty with the journey and ex-
citement, as the cunning hpea had expected, called for
a drink of water, but ere he could place the cup to his
lips his faithful follower turned it upside down, and
instead of water, out fell a cupful of sharp needles, and
again the king's life was saved.
Worn out with his ride he told his servants to pre-
56 FOLK LOKE STOKIES
pare his room as he would sleep. Ai called the chief
guard and told him to have a lamp burning all night,
to take his sharpest sword with him, and guard the
king carefully. In the middle of the night when the
tired king was sleeping soundly, into the room came
creeping slowly, slowly, the biggest rat ever seen. It
had long, sharp teeth and wicked glaring eyes, and made
toward the king. But the guard, warned by Ai, was
on the watch, and just as the rat was about to spring
at the king's throat, the soldier with a sweep of his
long, sharp sword cut off its head, and thus the king
through the cleverness of one man escaped the last
danger and could now live without fear.
The next morning the king called his heralds and
bade them go into the city and summon Sau Boo to
come to the palace to be rewarded. They searched
and called, but searched and called in vain. No man
ever heard of a man by that name, and the king was
fast getting angry when the amats told him that they
personally had gone to every house except one, and
that was the house of Ai. The king in surprise ordered
them to call his son-in-law. " He may be able to tell
us something about him," he observed. Ai accordingly
obeyed his summons, but the king was more surprised
yet when Ai told him that Sau Boo and himself were
one and the same, and that it was he who had rescued
the king from so many dangers.
At first his father-in-law became angry and refused
to believe him, but Ai gave an account of every-
thing that had happened from the time when the deer
STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 57
broke cover, till the rat was killed by the guard, and
thus convinced the king of his truthfulness.
The king then made a great feast, called all his min-*
isters and generals together, and made a proclamation
that Ai in future should be his amat long and should
be king when he himself died.
Thus did the princess prove that her luck really de-
pended upon herself, and not on the king, and to-day
we say, "May your luck be as good as the luck of
Nang Kam Ung."
HOW THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER.
AT the beginning of the world a hare, tiger, ox,
buffalo, and horse became friends and lived to-
gether. One day the tiger was out hunting when, it
being in the middle of the hot season, the jungle caught
fire, and a strong wind blowing, it was not long before
the whole country was in flames. The tiger fled, but
the fire followed. Never mind how fast he ran, the
flames followed him, till he was in great fear of being
burned alive. As he was rushing along he saw the ox
feeding on the other side of the river and called out
to him :
" friend ox, you see the fire is following me wher-
ever I go. Where is a place of refuge that I can escape
Now close to the tiger was a jungle full of dried
grass, such as the Shans use for thatching their houses,
and the ox replied, " Go to the grass jungle yonder, my
brother, and you will be safe."
But dried grass is the most inflammable thing in the
whole hill and water country, and so here, not only did
the flames follow the tiger, but they ran ahead of him
and threatened to engulf him on every side. In great
anger he roared at the ox, " False deceiver, if ever I
escape from this danger, I will return and kill you,"
but the ox only laughed at him and continued eating.
HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGER 59
In desperation, the tiger leaped over the flames and
found himself near the horse. " friend horse," he
cried, ' ' where can I go ? I am in great danger of be-
ing burned to death."
Now it happened that once the tiger had been very
rude to the horse and called him many bad names, so
now he thought this was a good opportunity to be re-
venged ; so he said: " Yonder is a big bamboo jungle,
run to that and you are safe " ; but the tiger found that
the horse was also a false friend, for the fire following
him speedily ignited the tall bamboos which burned
fiercely and falling from above, almost completely cov-
ered the poor beast.
At the beginning of the world the tiger was a beauti-
ful yellow color, but the bamboos falling all over him,
burnt him in stripes, and since that time his descend-
ants have had long black stripes all over their coats.
" When I have escaped from this," yelled the angry
tiger, " I will come back and kill you."
"Very good," sneered the horse, "and I will arch
my neck so that you can get a good bite," but this was
said to deceive the tiger, as the horse intended to lash
out with his hind feet when the tiger came to fight him.
Nevertheless, from that day the necks of all horses have
been arched, and they cannot fight an enemy in front,
but are obliged to arch their necks, lower their heads,
and kick from behind.
The tiger, by this time tired to death and suffering
from the burns of the bamboos, saw. the buffalo and
accosted him as he had his other friends. :
60 FOLK LORE STOEIES
" good friend buffalo," he cried, "I am in great
danger of being burned alive. The horse and the ox
have not only deceived me, but in following their advice
I have arrived at a worse condition than before. What
can I do to be freed from this great danger ? ' '
The buffalo looked up from the cool river where he
was enjoying a bath, and taking compassion on him
said: " If you will catch hold of my throat I will duck
you in the river and so you shall escape from the
danger that is following you."
So the tiger seized the good buffalo by the throat and
Avas held under water till the fire had burnt itself out.
The tiger was very grateful to the buffalo and made an
agreement with him that from that time no tiger should
ever kill a buffalo, and it is only the very worst tigers,
those that kill men, that ever kill a buffalo, and the
tigers that are guilty of killing buffaloes are sure to be
killed themselves, sooner or later.
The tiger held so fast to the buffalo that when the
latter came out of the water, his throat and neck were
all white, and buffaloes all have that mark on their
necks and throats till this very day.
The tiger was so cold after his bath that he shook and
shivered as though he had fever, and seeing a little
house made of dried grass a short distance off he went
to it and found that a hare was living there.
" Good friend," said the tiger, " I am so cold I am
afraid I shall die. Will you take compassion on me
and allow me to rest in your house and get warm be-
fore I return home ? ' '
HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGER 61
" Come iu, our lord," said the hare. " If our lord
deigns to honor my poor house with his presence, he
will confer a favor that his slave will never forget."
The tiger was only too glad to go into the hare's
house, and the latter immediately made room for him
by sitting on the roof. Soon the tiger heard click !
click ! click ! and he called out : " friend hare, what
are you doing up there on the roof of your house ? "
Now the hare was really at that moment striking fire
with her flint and steel, but she deceived the tiger and
said, " It is very cold up here, and our lord's slave was
shivering," but the next moment the spark struck the
dried grass on the roof and the house was soon iu
The tiger dashed out just in time and turned in a
rage on his late host, but the hare was far away, hav-
ing jumped at the same moment that the spark set fire
to the roof of the house.
The tiger gave chase, but after a while he saw the
hare sitting down and watching something intently, so
he asked, " What are you looking at? "
" This is a fine seat belonging to the Ruler of the
Hares," returned she.
" I would like to sit on it," said the tiger.
" "Well," said the hare, " wait till I can go and ask
our lord to give you permission."
" All right, I will watch till you come back and will
not kill you as I intended doing, if you get me permis-
sion to sit on it," said the tiger.
Now this was not a chair at all, but some hard sharp
62 FOLK LORE STORIES
stones that the hare had covered with mud and shaped
with her paws to deceive the tiger. The hare ran off a
long distance and pretended to talk with some one and
then called out : ' ' The lord of the chair says, our lord
the tiger may sit, if he throws himself down upon it
with all his might. This is our custom."
The tiger flung himself upon what he thought was the
chair with all his might, but the soft mud gave way
and he fell upon the stones underneath and hurt his
paws badly. He therefore sprang up and vowed ven-
geance on the hare that he could just see far off in the
By and by as the hare was running along she saw a
large wasps' nest hanging from the branch of a tree, so
she sat down and watched it intently. When the tiger
came up he was so curious to know what the hare was
looking at so intently that he did not kill her, but in-
stead asked her what she was looking at.
The hare showed the tiger the wasps' nest on the tree
and said: "That is the finest gong in all the hill and
" I would like to beat it," said the tiger.
"Just wait a minute," returned the hare, "and I
will go to the lord of the gong and ask permission for
you to beat it."
The hare ran till she was far away in the jungle, and
then at the top of her voice called out : " If you wish to
beat the gong, the lord of the gong says you must strike
it as hard as you can with your head. That is his
HOW THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER 63
The tiger butted at the nest with all his might and
made a big jagged rent in its side, and out flew the
angry wasps in swarms, completely covering the poor
tiger, who with a dreadful yell of pain tore aAvay from
his tormentors. His face was all swollen, and from that
day till the present, the faces of tigers have all been
wide and flat.
Again he chased the hare, and when the smart from
the stings of the wasps had subsided a little, he found
to his great joy that he was gaining on his enemy fast.
The hare on her part saw that the tiger would soon
catch her and looked around for some means of escape,
and spied just before her a snake half in and half out
of its hole.
The hare stopped as before and sat gazing at the
snake so intently that the tiger instead of killing her as
he had intended to do, asked her what it was in the
"This," returned the hare, "is a wonderful flute
that only kings and nobles are allowed to play. Would
our lord like to play ? "
" Indeed I would," said the tiger; "but where is the
lord of this wonderful flute? Whom shall I ask for
permission ? "
"If our lord watches right here," said the cunning
hare, "his slave will go to the lord of the flute and
ask permission," and the tiger, well content, sat down
Again the cunning hare deceived the tiger by pre-
tending to ask permission, and when a long distance
64 FOLK LORE STORIES
off he called as before: "Our lord has permission to
play the flute. Let him put it in his mouth and blow
Avith all his might. This is the custom of the lord
of the flute."
The foolish tiger immediately took the snake's head
into his mouth, but the sound that followed came from
the tiger, not from the flute, and a terrible yell he gave
as the snake bit his mouth ! But the hare was far
away and would soon have been safe but for an unlocked
for accident that nearly ended her life.
The people who lived in that part of the hill and
water country were at war with the State that joined
them on the north, and thinking that the soldiers of the
enemy would soon invade their country they had made
a trap in the middle of the path over which the hare
was running. First they dug a hole so deep that
should anybody fall in, it would be impossible to climb
out again. The sides of the pit were dug on the slant
so that the opening was smaller than the bottom. Over
the top they had placed thin strips of bamboo that would
break if any extra weight came upon them and they
had covered the whole with grass and leaves so that no
traveler would know that a trap was there. Into this
hole fell the poor little hare.
Presently the tiger came up to see where the hare had
gone, and when he saw the hole in the middle of the
path, he called out, "Where are you, friend hare?"
and the hare from, the bottom of the trap called out,
"I have fallen into a trap. "
Then the tiger sat on the ground and just bent double
HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGEE 65
with laughter to think that at last he had the hare in
his power, but the little animal clown in the hole
although she did not say anything, thought harder in
a few minutes than the tiger had in all his life. By and
by as she looked up through the hole she had made in
the roof, she saw that the sky overhead was getting
darker and darker as a storm was coming on, so in great
glee, although she pretended to be very much fright-
ened, she called out as loudly as ever she could :
" Our lord tiger ! our lord tiger ! "
At first the tiger did not answer, so the hare then
called, " Does not our lord see the great danger ap-
proaching ? Let our lord look at the sky."
The tiger looked up and saw the dark clouds coming
slowly, slowly on, covering the whole sky ; his laughter
stopped and he soon began to get very frightened.
After a while, when it had become still darker, he
called to the hare: "0 friend, what is the matter with
the sky ? What is going to happen ? ' '
Then the hare replied: " Our lord, the sky has fallen
where you see it is dark ; that is far away, but in a few
minutes it will fall here and everybody will be crushed
The foolish tiger was now frightened half to death
and called to the hare: " friend, I have treated you
badly in trying to kill you. Do not be angry and take
revenge on me, but take compassion on my terrible con-
dition, and graciously tell me how to escape this danger,
and I swear that I will never try to harm you more."
It was the hare's turn to laugh now, but she only
66 FOLK LORE STORIES
laughed quietly to herself, for she was afraid the tiger
would hear her, then she said, " Down here our lord's
slave is quite safe. If our lord descends, he too will be
safe," and before the hare had hardly finished, the
cowardly tiger 'made a jump for the hole the hare had
made and joined her at the bottom of the trap.
But the hare was not out yet and she began to plan
how she could get out herself aud yet keep the tiger in.
At last a happy thought struck her. She sidled up to
the tiger and began to tickle him in the ribs. The tiger
squirmed and twisted first one way and then the other,
first to one side and then to the other ; at last he could
stand it no longer and catching the hare he threw her
out of the trap and she landed on solid ground.
As soon as the hare found she was safe, she began to
call at the top of her voice: " men, come ! come ! I,
the hare have deceived the tiger and he is at the bottom
of the trap. men, come ! I, the hare call you.
Bring your spears and guns ; bring your swords, and
kill the tiger that I have tricked into entering the trap. ' '
At first the men did not believe the hare, for they did
not think that an animal so small as the hare could de-
ceive the tiger, but then they also knew that the hare
was very clever and had much wisdom, so they brought
their spears and their guns, their swords and their
sticks, and killed the tiger in the trap.
Thus did the- hare prove that though small she was
full of wisdom, and although the tiger was bigger,
stronger, and fiercer than she, yet she, through her
wisdom, was able to kill him.
THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE.
THERE was once a man who had two wives. Now
as everybody knows it is always the chief wife that
the husband loves best, while the other instead of being
Mae Long, is only Mae Noi, and this often causes jeal-
ousy and trouble in the family. It was so in this case,
especially as the chief wife did not have a son to add
to her dignity. They each had a daughter, the name
of the chief wife's child was Nang Hsen Gaw, and that
of the other Nang E.
One day the husband of these women went to the
lake to fish. He caught a large number of shell fish
and put them on the shore for his wives to bring home.
The younger took her share of the load, but, being very
hungry, she ate them all. The mother of Nang Hsen
Gaw, however, was not greedy like the other woman,
and so she put all the fish that were left into her bag
and began to trudge slowly toward the house.
Now, the mother of Nang E was a witch, although
no one, of course, knew it. Being wicked enough to be
a witch, she did not hesitate at committing any other
crime, even the most dreadful, and she therefore made
up her mind that she would kill the mother of Nang
Hsen Gaw so that she could be the chief wife. She got
home much sooner than the other woman, as she had no
load to carry, and when she saw her husband he natu-
68 FOLK LOEE STOKIES
rally asked her where the fish were. "Now," she
thought, " here's a good chance to get that woman out
of the way, ' ' so she told her husband that his other wife
was a por, or witch, and she had taken all the fish away
from her. Now, witches are of course very much
dreaded, so when the poor woman came home with her
heavy load of fish, the villagers killed her with their
sticks, and she was changed into a tortoise in the lake.
And now at last the mother of Nang E was chief
wife, but do you think she \vas satisfied? Not a bit
of it. She heard that her rival was now a tortoise in
the lake, and she determined to kill her again.
Some time after this, as Nang Hsen Gaw was in the
jungle watching the cows that belonged to her father,
she walked along the edge of the lake and was very
much surprised to hear her own name called in familiar
tones. She looked around, but could see no one, and
she was getting very frightened, thinking that it was
perhaps a hpea who wanted to entice her into the thick
jungle so that he could devour her, but at last she
looked on the ground at her feet and saw it was a tor-
toise that was speaking to her.
" Nang Hsen Gaw," it called. " My daughter, oie I
I am your mother who was killed through the wicked
acts of my rival, the mother of Nang E. I have arrived
at great trouble, and now, instead of being the chief
wife of a rich man, I am nothing but a tortoise swim-
ming in the lake. Take pity on me, my daughter, and
out of compassion every day bring me cotton thread and
raw cotton, so that I can weave and spin."
THE STOEY OF THE TORTOISE 69
Nang Hsen Gaw was a dutiful daughter, and every
day when she went to the jungle she took cotton for her
mother to spin, and thread for her to weave, and daily
talked with her, telling her all the gossip of the village
and anything else that she thought her- mother would
like to hear.
But the mother of Nang E was on the watch, and
thinking it strange that the girl should take cotton and
thread to the jungle every day, and bring none back
with her when she drove the cattle back at night, she
followed her, heard her talking with her mother, and
thus found out in what part of the lake her enemy was,
and laid her plan accordingly.
That evening, unknown to her family, while her
husband was busy working in his garden, she went to
the house where lived the doctor of the village, unfolded
her plans to him and asked for his help. Being an un-
scrupulous man he agreed, took the silver the woman
had pilfered from her husband, and promised to help
her. The next day she was taken very sick and her
husband called in the doctor, who told him that the
woman must have a tortoise from the lake near-by. If
she boiled and ate it according to his directions she
would get well, if not, she would die. Having per-
formed his part of the bargain he returned to his home
' at the other end of the village.
Next morning the man went to the lake to get the
tortoise. Nang Hsen Gaw was much distressed when
she saw her father set out, and her distress became
worse when she saw that the wicked stepmother had
70 FOLK LORE STORIES
directed him to the little pond where her own mother
was. The man took a large bucket made out of wicker
work, and commenced baling out the water, but Naug
Hseri Gaw was able to warn her mother just where her
father was, so- that when he was on one side of the
pond her mother went to the other, but at last he sent
the girl home,' and in a few minutes secured the tortoise
and was soon carrying it away for his wife to eat.
When he got home he gave her the tortoise, little
thinking who it was, and then went out, while the
witch called Nang Hsen Gaw to watch the pot which
had been put over the fire.
Soon the poor girl heard her mother call out. She
said that the hot water had reached her knees, and
begged her to put out the fire. She commenced to rake
out the hot embers from under the pot, when her step-
mother saw what she was doing, and taking up a heavy
bamboo beat her unmercifully and made her put more
sticks on the fire. Soon her mother complained again that
the heat had reached her shoulders, and again Naug
E's mother beat her, and made her put more sticks on
the fire. Soon she heard her mother say: "My
daughter, oie! The hot water has reached my neck
.and I shall soon be dead. When it is all over, do not
let that wicked woman destroy me altogether, but bury
me in the jungle, " and in a few minutes she was dead.
Nang Hsen Gaw tried her best to get the dead body
of her mother, but her stepmother watched her care-
fully, and all she could not eat herself she gave to the
dogs, to prevent her daughter from getting any, but
THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE 71
one dog ran off with his portion into the jungle. Nang
Hsen Gaw followed in time to rescue the webbing
between the fingers. 1 This was all that was left, but
she buried that carefully in the jungle far from the
house where her stepmother lived.
The next clay as she was walking through the jungle
feeding her cows, she heard sweet music. It sounded like
twelve organs all playing at the same time, and yet in
harmony, each organ blending with the others. In great
surprise she hunted around till she came to the spot
where she had buried the part of her mother's hand,
and saw that during the night this had changed into a
beautiful mai nyung kham tree. 2 And so this good and
dutiful daughter went every day to listen to the tree as
she had gone daily to the lake when her mother had
been a tortoise, and the tree sang sweeter when she was
near than at any other time.
But such a wonderful thing as this could not be kept
a secret. Others heard of it and people came from far
and near to hear the sweet music come from the tree.
One of the amats of the great king who ' ' ate ' ' s the
country, heard that a miracle was to be seen in this
jungle, and accordingly reported it to his lord, who sent
men to cut the tree down and bring it to his palace. All
day long the men worked at the tree, from the time the
1 The Shans call the two front feet of a quadruped "hands."
The digits are called " fingers " not " toes."
2 The sacred peepul tree.
3 The Shans do not usually say that a king "rules" over a
country, but the expression generally used is that he " eats" it;
a very suggestive and alas ! too often only too true expression.
72 FOLK LORE STORIES
country became light till the moon rose at night, but
although they had the sharpest of axes and were the
most skillful workmen in all the country, yet with all
their labor they could only cut through the bark, and
during the night the tree grew so quickly that when
the morning dawned, it was twice as large as it was the
night before, and the marks made by the axes on the
bark were covered with new bark harder than ever.
The king was very angry when he heard of the ill
success of his woodmen, had them all executed, and
sent others, but they had no better success than the
first. But this only made the king more stubborn and
determined to get the tree at any cost, and he therefore
sent the heralds all through the country and made a
proclamation that any man who could bring the tree to
his palace should be made his Kern Mong, that is, heir
apparent ; should it be a woman, she should become
Nang Me Prah, or chief queen. Many men therefore
came with sharp pahs and axes but all were equally un-
successful, and the king despaired of ever getting the
tree, when Nang Hseu Gaw heard of the reward offered
by the king, and told the heralds she could bring the
tree to his palace. The king was full of joy when he
heard this, and made great preparations for her. On
her part she simply went to the jungle and, taking
off her turban, fastened it around the tree and carried
it bodily into the palace where it sang as sweetly every
day as when it was in the jungle.
When the mother of Nang E heard of the good
fortune that had befallen Naug Hsen Gaw she Avas very
THE STOEY OF THE TORTOISE 73
angry, and calling her own daughter to follow her, she
set off for the capital. When she had arrived there she
disguised herself and became a servant to the queen,
and pondered how she could kill the Nang Me Prah and
put her own daughter Nang E in her place.
One day this wicked woman told the queen that she
had found some fine soap beans and bark, that she was
very skillful in shampooing, and as the next day was to
be a great feast when the queen would follow the king
on her royal elephant, the soap beans would make her
black hair blacker, and the gloss glossier than ever,
and asked her to allow her to wash the queen's head at
a well that was just outside the gate of the palace, near
the royal gardens, where the water was very sweet.
The queen consented and called her attendants to fol-
low, but the stepmother was much too cunning to allow
that, so she told the queen that her method of washing
was better than any other woman's but it was a secret,
and she would reserve it for her majesty's own private
use, but she did not want any of the attendants to see
how it was done. If they did, she added, the next day
at the feast every lady in the court would have hair as
glossy as the queen's, but if they went alone, her hair
would be as much more beautiful than any other
womau's as the sun is more beautiful than the bamboo
torch that lights the way through the jungle at night,
when there is no moon. The young queen was not
proof against this flattery, and so the two women, went
alone out of the palace, the very guards who watched
at the gates not knowing whither they were going.
74 FOLK LORE STOEIES
They soon arrived at tile well, and as the queen was
bending over, her long hair covering her face so that
she could see nothing, her wicked stepmother suddenly
drew a knife and stabbed her to the heart, then, calling
her daughter to help, she buried the poor young queen
under the road leading to the well. She took the royal
robes and put them on her own daughter, Naiig E, who
returned to the royal palace and entered the royal
apartments, all the attendants thinking it was the real
queen returned from a bath in the river.
That same afternoon, as the king walked through
the palace, he was surprised to see that the wonderful
singing tree was all withered and mute. In great dis-
tress he called for the queen .and ordered her to make
the tree sing as before, but although ISfang E tried with
all her might, she could make no sound. She tapped
it softly as she had seen Nang Hsen Gaw do, but all in
vain. It was silent.
Now the king was in the habit of wearing Burmese
clothing instead of Shan, and one day when he had
gone to his room to put on his ptsoe, he found that a
little sparrow had built, her nest in it. He was a very
kind man, and so allowed the little bird to live there,
and in gratitude to the king this sparrow was in the
habit of telling him all she saw as she flew around the
city from morn to night, and whenever the king wished
to find out anything that puzzled him, he would often
call the sparrow to tell him what to do.
He therefore now called the little bird and asked it
what ailed the tree, and the sparrow told him that the
THE STORY OF THE TOETOISE 75
woman who was then in the royal apartments and wear-
ing the clothes of the Nang Me Prah was not the real
queen, but a woman named Nang E, and seeing her
approach, the brave little bird began whistling, ' ' This
is not the Nang Me Prah, this is Nang E, Nang E.
Oh ! Nang E!"
In a great rage the king commanded his servants to
call the woman, and when she was come into the royal
presence she dared not open her mouth to answer the
king, for she was not so clever as her mother, who
could disguise her voice as well as her face, and she
knew that if she began to speak the king would see
that she was not Nang Hsen Gaw, so she remained si-
lent. But this did not save her, for the king looked at
her and said :
"You wear the robes and jewels of my queen, but
you have not the same face, and you are afraid to speak
to me, ' ' and he immediately called his chief executioner
to take her away and cut off her head.
But even this did not bring back the music to the
tree, and the king was disconsolate.
The next morning when the guard of the royal gar-
den went to his post, he saw, near the well, a beautiful
mawk moo flower, took it home with him and placed it
in the chattie of water that every Shan keeps in his
house as an offering to the hpeas. The old mother Nai,
soon after took her basket and went to the bazaar to
buy puc for her son's breakfast, but when she returned
she was surprised to see that during her absence some
one had swept the house, cooked the food, and that the
76 FOLK LORE STORIES
" morning rice " was all ready to eat. The eating-tray
was set out in the middle of the room. The rice and
curry was arranged in order on it, and the drinking
chattie was full of scented water. She called her son
and all the neighbors to ask who had done this, but no
one could tell her, and in great amazement they sat
down to their meal. That evening the same thing hap-
pened again. While she was out, the house was again
swept, the food was prepared, and the tray arranged
as in the morning. For several days this happened,
and then, the old woman determined to hide and see
who did these kind acts. She did so, and was amazed
to see that as soon as she had left the house (she went
under the floor and looked up through a hole between
the bamboos), that a spirit came out of the mawk moo
flower that her son had brought from the road leading
to the well, and commenced to sweep the house. In the
midst of it the old woman rushed up to the flower and
destroyed it, so that the spirit could not go back to its
refuge. At the same instant, it changed into the most
beautiful woman ever seen.
That afternoon, Nang Hsen Gaw, for the spirit was
she, told old Nai how her stepmother had killed her
at the well, and buried her, and how she had been
changed into the spirit of the beautiful maivlc moo flower
the guard had brought to the house, and that she would
soon go back to the king in the palace.
They neither of them had seen the little sparrow sit-
ting on the roof, but she had been there all the time,
and now flew off to the king and told him all that she
THE STORY OP THE TORTOISE 77
had heard. The king gave orders that the wicked
mother of Nang E should be executed immediately,
and that a band of soldiers should go to the guard's
house to escort his bride back in state to the palace,
where she reigned many, many years, till she saw her
grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. As
soon as the queen entered the gate, the tree began to
play; the withered leaves put on a bright hue, and
beautiful flowers burst into bloom ; and while Nang
Hseu Gaw lived, the tree bloomed and played sweetest
music every day.
The lessons that this story teaches are : As surely
as the wheels of the cart follow the oxen, so surely will
wickedness be punished. If you sin you must suifer.
The man who kills another will assuredly meet the
THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD.
ANY, many years ago, at the beginning of the
world, a little sparrow built her nest on the top
of a tall tree that grew near the edge of a lake. In it
she laid five little eggs, and never was mother bird
prouder than she, and all day long she flew from tree
to tree chirping out her joy. So proud in fact was she,
and so much noise did she make, that a monkey that
lived on the other side of the lake was struck with the
remembrance of how he had once dined with great sat-
isfaction on eggs laid by the sparrow's sister, and in a
few minutes he was on his way to repeat the perform-
In vain the little bird cried and begged him to spare
her brood, promising to show him where the sweetest
plantains in all the country were growing ; the monkey
only laughed at her and climbed the tree to get the
The next moment the robber would have gotten his
spoil, and this wonderful story would never have been
told, but just then the great lord Sa Kyah looked
earthward and saw the tragedy that was taking place.
Like a drop of rain that falls from a tree when the
wind blows after a shower, the mighty lord descended,
and when the would-be robber reached the nest his
hand entered an empty one.
THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 79
The eggs were soon brought back from the hpea
country where the lord Sa Kyah had taken them for
safety, and in due time were hatched. Out of the first
protruded a sharp bill, and a king-fisher, bright of
plumage and swift of wing, broke out of its speckled
prison. The next egg broke and a buffalo came out, to
be followed by a lordly striped tiger from the next. A
terrible hpea-loo, with head and claws like a bird and
body like a man, tore his way out of the next one,
already looking around for a man whom he might de-
vour for his first meal.
Only one egg remained, and that the smallest of all,
but out of it came a man, and the mighty lord Sa
Kyah smiled when he saw him, and said that although
he was the smallest and the last, yet he must feed his
brothers and take care of them.
One hot day in summer the buffalo that had come out
of one of the eggs, walking through the jungle, much
troubled by mosquitoes, thought how nice would be a
wallow in a hole well known to him under the shade of
the trees by the bank of the lake, where the sun had
not dried the mud to the hardness of bricks as it had
in every other wallow, and accordingly turned his huge
body in its direction, and slowly set off toward it.
On his way there he saw on the ground what ap-
peared to him to be a bed of flowers growing on the
bank of the lake, and after smelling it carefully over,
leisurely ate it all up.
The sun was hot, the earth dry, and the flowers had
long ago died, and what the buffalo thought were
80 FOLK LORE STOEIES
flowers were really ten white jackets and ten red skirts.
But when he had finished his meal he continued his
journey to the wallow, and then with a grunt expressive
of great satisfaction, sinking into the soft mud till only
the tips of his horns and the top of his head were vis-
ible, he closed his eyes and enjoyed himself.
By and by there was a great commotion in the water
shouts, laughter, and jokes, together with a great
splashing. The lazy buffalo opened one eye and saw
ten young girls who were having great fun in the cool
water, throwing it over one another and chasing each
other here and there. When they came to the place
where they had left their clothes, however, their mirth
received a sudden check. They had all disappeared !
They stood up to their armpits in the water looking at
each other with very long faces till, spying the buffalo
in his mud bath, they approached him, and in the most
courteous language asked him whether he had seen their
The great beast closed the eye he had opened, and
slowly uncovered the other one, but beyond this took
no notice of the maids forlorn. Then, calling him
"Kind Brother Buffalo," they begged him to answer
them, saying that all the people who left the village to
go to the bazaar before the sun had risen would soon
be passing on their way home. The buffalo blew a big
cloud of mud and water from his nostrils, but said
never a word.
Now it happened that the youngest of the sparrow's
brood, the man, was in the jungle all the time. He
THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 81
had seen his brother eat up all the clothes and had
heard all the conversation. He had noticed too, that
although all the maidens were beautiful, the youngest
was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He saw
how straight was her form, how black was her hair, and
that her eyes were the color of the sky when there are
3iiany stars but no moon, and he determined to get her
for his wife. He therefore now approached the party
and told them that he could help them, and that no
one besides could tell them where their clothes were,
but that they must promise that the one whom he
should pick out should be his wife.
To this they agreed, and thus it happened that he
became possessed of the most beautiful woman in all
the Shan country. So beautiful in- fact was she, that
it is said the birds stopped in the middle of a song
when they saw her. The squirrels stopped half-way
up the tree in their search for nuts as she walked under
the trees, and her fame spread far and wide.
At this time a hunter came wandering through the
jungle in search of game, and saw her standing at her
door. He, like everybody else, was struck with her
wonderful beauty, and he thought to himself, ' ' For a
long time I have been most unfortunate. I have caught
but few animals, and their furs have been poor and
mangy. Now, if I tell the king of my country about
this beautiful girl, he will give me a great reward."
Thus reasoning he set out home and told the king
what he had seen, enlarging upon her great beauty till
the king resolved to get her at any cost.
82 FOLK LORE STORIES
He therefore set out, taking with him soldiers and
attendants as became such a mighty lord, and when he
saw the object of his journey he acknowledged that the
hunter had not deceived him, and he determined to
take her back with him to the palace ; but at the same
time he made up his mind to go about it in a cunning
Now this king had a wonderful fighting cock of
which he was very proud, and which had never been
beaten. It had a beak of iron and spurs as sharp as
the knives that come from Lai Hka, and a voice so
loud and piercing that every morning when he crowed
every other rooster in the city scurried away in fright
at the challenge.
The king, therefore, said that he and the woman's
husband should have a cock fight. He would wager
his country against the other's wife. In great sorrow
the man went out into the jungle to think over his mis-
fortune, and while sitting on the ground in a most dis-
consolate manner he heard a little bird calling his name,
and looking up he saw his brother, the kingfisher,
perched above him.
" brother, do not fear," said the bright little bird.
"I do not forget that you are my brother and have
guarded me long, and now I will surely help you in
When the time came for the fight, therefore, and the
king's fighting cock stood proudly up, suddenly down
from a tree flew the kingfisher, pecked him with his
long, sharp bill, and then flew away before he could so
THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BKEED 83
much as turn his head. Time and again this happened
till the king's challenger finally stretched himself dead
on the ground.
The fight ending in this way, however, did not suit
the selfish king a bit, and he therefore said it was not
a fair fight, and brought out a large, fierce dog. This
dog was the terror of the State, but the king said that
it should fight any other dog that could be brought
against it for the same stakes as before. The tiger
brother, however, was on the watch, and before the
dog could get near his opponent, a blow from his paw
ended his career.
Still the king persisted in his unjust course, and now
declared that the wager should be finally settled by a
fight between two buffaloes. Now the buffalo brother
was ashamed of the way in which he had treated the
girls in the water, and had long wished for an oppor-
tunity to retrieve his honor, so that he now fought with
such bravery against the royal buffalo that he speedily
Then the king, seeing that he was beaten every time,
threw off all disguise and said plainly that he had come
to get the girl for his wife, had brought soldiers to help
him if necessary, and he would take her in spite of
losing the different battles, and in spite of her husband
or anybody else.
He stepped forward to take her, but he did not
know that one more brother yet remained to be heard
from, for out of the jungle with a dreadful yell came
rushing the hpea-loo, his beak open, his claws out-
84 FOLK LOEE STORIES
stretched, and king, soldiers, and courtiers all disap-
peared down his ravenous maw.
The next month the fortunate man with his beautiful
wife became king in the place of his enemy, and lived
to be the oldest monarch in the whole of the Shan
HOW THE WORLD WAS CREATED.
IN the beginning of the world, many, many cycles
ago, so long ago, in fact, that no man knows how
long it was, there were no trees, no hills, no land,
nothing but water. The wind blew the waters hither
and thither, sometimes in great waves, sometimes in
quiet ripples; the wind blew, the waves rolled, and that
Now it happened that Gong Gow, the Great Spirit
Spider, felt weary with carrying around her heavy bur-
den of eggs wrapped up so carefully in their white
covering fastened to her waist, therefore she said to
' ' I would fain place my eggs in a safe place, but
know of none where they can hatch themselves without
danger, ' ' so she searched through the universe to find
a suitable place, and at last she spied the water that
is now the world, and in it began to spin her web.
Backward and forward, forward and backward, round
and round, in and out she wove, till at last all was
done, and full of content she left her eggs in their web
prison nest and journeyed away.
The wind blew and drove the water hither and
thither as aforetime, and soon little pieces of solid sub-
stance caught iu the meshes of the web, and behold !
as the time passed the solid substance became more
86 FOLK LORE STORIES
solid till it formed mud and separated itself from the
water, and when the mud had dried, lo ! it was the
So the eggs of the great Spirit Spider were safely
locked up within the earth ; by and by they hatched,
arid breaking forth there appeared the first man, Boo
Pau, and the first woman, Myeh Pan, from whom all
the ancient people who belonged to the first race were
Many, many years passed and people lived out their
lives, till one day the great earth caught fire. It
burned fiercer than anybody's imagination can con-
ceive, and it destroyed everything. All the beautiful
forests with their green coverings of moss and leaves,
all the cities which the first race had builded were
burned down, till by and by there was naught more
for the fire to consume, and it was then the end of the
hot season ; the time of wet came soon after, and the
rain fell upon the burning earth in such torrents that
the whole sky was covered with the steam.
Now it happened that in Mong Hpea, the far-away
land where dwell the powerful spirits whom we call
"hsangs," the smell of the steam ascended and as-
cended till all the spirits smelled the sweet scent, and
said to themselves :
' ' Behold, there appears a sweet smell arising from
below, what can it be ? " and there was much mar-
veling at what could cause such sweet -smelling incense
as that then ascending.
And it also happened that in Mong Hpea were nine
HOW THE WOULD WAS CHEATED 87
spirits, five of them males and four females, and these
being of more adventurous spirit than their fellows, de-
termined to find out for themselves where the sweet
perfume came from. So they set out on their travels
downward. They descended faster and faster, and the
faster they descended the sweeter became the smell, till
at last they landed upon this world of ours, and bend-
ing down to the earth they tore great handfuls of it
out and ate it with the greatest relish.
It was morning time when they descended, and they
fed upon the fragrant earth all day till the sun set and
the shades of evening began to surround them, then
the eldest of the spirits looked around upon his fellows,
and said :
" Brethren, oie ! it is time that we ascended to our
own country," and as the rest assented they stood up
to return, but alas ! they could not rise, they had eaten
so much earth it had made them too heavy to soar, and
from that day to the day they died none of them ever
found their way back to the beautiful country of the
Hsangs, but had to spend all their lives upon this earth
Thus we see that it is earthly desires that keep us
from the spirit country. We see, or we hear, we smell
or desire some earthly thing. We get our desires, but
they keep us pinned down to the earth. We cannot
go to the spirit country because of them.
When the spirits discovered that they could not re-
turn to the Hsang country they agreed that they would
marry each other and take up their abode upon this
88 FOLK LORE STORIES
earth of ours. But here arose a difficulty ; there were
five male hsangs but only four females ! There was
chance of a great quarrel, but the strongest of them,
his name was Hsin Kyan, thought within himself :
' ' I am stronger than any of my brothers and could
easily defeat them and marry whom I will, but what
merit would there be in that ? I will ask them whether
they would be willing to make me king and each of
them give me of their daughters when they are old
enough, then in time I shall have wives and power as
well." Thus we see it is the man who is willing to
control his desires and wait who becomes great.
Hsin Kyan's brethren were very glad to make the
agreement and thus it was that he became the ruler of
them all. When the daughters of the others were old
enough, they brought them to the king, and from that
"day it has been the custom for men to offer their daugh-
ters to the king.
Now it happened that the universal lord, Sa Kyah,
who rules over all spirits and men looked earthward
and saw the new kingdom that was established ; he be-
came jealous and determined to kill Hsin Kyan and
take his kingdom away from him. But Hsiu Kyan
was very subtle and cunning, so he tattooed himself
with charms of such great strength that even the
mighty lord Sa Kyah could not kill him. For many
years they fought. Great mountains were thrown by
each combatant at the other, but Hsin Kyan could not
defeat the lord Sa Kyah, neither could the lord Sa
Kyah kill Hsin Kyan.
HOW THE WORLD WAS CHEATED 89
Our great ancestor Hsin Kyan had seven daughters,
whose names to this day are remembered among us as
they have been given to the different days of the week,
from Nang Ta Nang Nooie, the eldest, after whom we
call the first day of the week Wan Ta Nang Nooie, to
Nang Hsa Ne, the youngest, and when the mighty
lord Sa Kyah found that he could not kill their father,
he spoke to these daughters arid told them he was
searching for one whom he would make his chief queen,
and that if one of them would kill his enemy, their
father, and bring to him his head, he would choose
that one to be his queen and make her joint ruler of
the universe ; with him she should govern everything
But the charms tattooed upon Hsin Kyan were very
potent. Water would not drown him ; fire would not
burn him; rope would not strangle him; and he was
invulnerable against thrust of spear and stroke of sword,
and although all seven of his daughters tried to kill
him yet they were not able to do so and six of them
gave up the attempt in despair.
One day, however, the youngest, she whom we wor-
ship on the seventh day of the week and because she
was the smallest call it Wan Hsa Nae, was walking in
the jungle, and as she was passing under a tree she saw
a bird sitting upon its topmost branch. Now this girl
knew how clever birds are, and so she said to it :
' ' Brother Bird, oie ! can you tell me how I can kill
Now although this daughter was the youngest, yet
90 FOLK LORE STORIES
she was more lovely than all her sisters, and the bird
was so pleased with her that he said :
"Nang Hsa Nae, you are so beautiful that I will
tell you the secret of your father's charm. Water can-
not drown him, fire cannot burn him, neither can sword
or spear wound him, but there is one way in which he
may be killed. Take you, seven strands of a spider's
web and twist them into a cord, then with a piece of
white bamboo make a bow ; with this you will be able
to cut off' the head of your father and take it to the
mighty lord Sa Kyah, and oh ! " continued the clever
bird, " when you are his queen, do not forget the good
turn I have done you, and the debt of gratitude you
owe me therefor. ' '
Eang Hsa Nae was full of joy when she learned
the secret of her father's charm and she promised
the little bird that when she became queen of the
universe she would grant him any desire that he craved.
That night when everybody else was asleep, Nang
Hsa Nae crept to her father's side and with the bow
made of the seven twisted strands of a spider's web
killed him and cut off his head.
With great joy she carried it to the universal lord.
He was very glad to find that his enemy was at last
dead, but although he had given his word to her, yet
he would not marry Nang Hsa Nae, for, said he, she
has killed her father although I could not conquer him.
Were I to marry her, who will go surety for her that
she will not do the same to me ? So the wicked daugh-
ter did not gain her ambitious end after all.
HOW THE WORLD WAS CREATED 91
Not only that, however, but she and her sisters re-
ceived a punishment, one they are even now suffering,
and will continue till the world ends. It is this :
When they found that the lord Sa Kyah would not
marry their youngest sister or even accept their father's
head, they said among themselves :
"What shall we do with the head of our father?
Where shall we bury it ? Should we place it in the
earth the whole world would catch on fire ; should we
throw it into the sea, all the seven oceans would im-
mediately boil ; what shall we do ? "
In their distress they went to the mighty lord Sa
Kyah and in humble tones begged his lordship to give
them advice so that they would be freed from the terri-
ble trouble to which their wickedness had brought
them. He looked at them and said :
"This is what you must do. You," pointing to the
youngest, " must carry your father's head in your
arms all this year, and when the year is finished you
can give it to the sister who is next older than your-
self. She will carry it for a year and thus one of you
will ever after bear it."
And so it is. We know when the year ends because
then come the Wan Kyap or washing days, when the
princess who has carried her father's head for a year
gives it to her elder sister and washes the bloodstains
from her clothes.
From these spirits all the inhabitants of the world
are descended, and so we see the saying of our philoso-
phers is true, " We have all descended from spirits."
HOW THE KING OF PAGAN CAUGHT THE
MANY, many years ago there lived near the old
city of Pagan a famous robber chief who was so
fierce and cruel that he made all men fear his name.
He stole and killed and burned till the mothers used
to frighten their disobedient children by saying, " Boh
Lek Byah will get thee. " He was a very brave and
clever thief, and he became so strong that the headmen
and elders of all the towns and villages throughout the
country were obliged to fee him with money and goods,
and if by any chance they did not pay this blackmail
immediately it was demanded, that very night the fol-
lowers of the robber chief would assuredly burn down
their village and kill every man, woman, and child
within it, for this was Shan and Burmese custom.
Boh Lek Byah entered every house in Pagan. None
was too big, none too small. He stole from the whon's
house as easily as from the hut of the poor man ; it
made no difference to him, till at last the palace where
the great king lived was the only place whence he had
not gotten booty. Several of his followers were caught
and crucified, but that did not stop his bad actions or
frighten him. In the old days, when a robber was
caught he was taken to the jungle where the tigers arc.
All the tigers knew the place of execution as well as a
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 93
dog knows worship days when the women offer rice and
curry at the pagodas. They used to tie the thieves fast
to the cross by their feet, hands, and hair, and when
they had jeered at them and the women and children
had pelted them with stones and beaten them with bam-
boos, everybody went home and left them for the tigers
to eat, and thus they did to the followers of Maung
Lek Byah, but they could never catch the robber chief
At last the people of Pagan city came to the Amat
Long, who was next in rank to the king himself, and
" Our lord, for long thy slaves have been in great
and sore trouble, and unless our lord takes pity upon
his servants we shall all arrive at destruction."
" What can I do ? " cried the amat, in a loud, angry
voice, " has he not stolen from me? Did I not pay
him two whole ticcals of pure silver as protection money
no later than the last Water Feast, and yet did he not
rob me as I was coming home in my boat yesternight,
and when I told him that I was the Amat Long, did
he not laugh in my face and yet rob me just the same.
What can I do?"
" Our lord can go to the Ruler of the Golden Palace
and plead for his slaves," suggested one of the suppli-
Now, the Amat Long was a very cunning man, and
he knew that if the king heard that Boh Lek Byah
had stolen so much from his subjects he would be very
angry, and might perhaps even deprive him of his rank
94 POLK LOEE STOEIES
as chief amat, for it was his duty to see that all rob-
bers were caught and punished, therefore after thinking
for a while, he said :
" My friends, listen to me; let us each give silver,
as much as we can afford ; it is better to give part of
our possessions than to have everything taken from us.
Dost hear ? This silver we will give to the boh, and
he will then not trouble us any more, but will go to
towns where the people are poorer and cannot afford to
give as much as we, the citizens of this royal city of
Pagan; then shall we have peace."
This advice was very good and would have been acted
upon, but unfortunately, one of the little princes hap-
pened to be in the audience chamber that morning and
heard what had been said. He went to his father, the
ruler of the Golden Palace, and told the king what he
had heard; therefore his majesty called the amat to the
Golden Foot and asked him of these things.
" What is this I hear ? " he demanded. " Has this
wicked man robbed as much as the people say ? Why
hast thou not caught him as it was thy duty to do? "
"Son of the Sun," replied the servant, trembling
very much as he kneeled before him, for who would
not be afraid when the king is angry? "it is true;
but this thief is a very wicked and clever thief, besides
which he has a wonderful charm tattooed upon his
body which is so potent that it makes him invulnerable
to wounds from sword or gun, neither can he be bound
with ropes, therefore it hath been impossible for the
slave of our lord the king to capture or harm him."
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 95
"Then," said the king, still very angry, " get thee
a charm still more potent than the one the robber chief
hath, for if thou dost not bring him or his head to me
ere three days have elapsed, thou shalt fall from thy
rank of chief amat. Dost thou hear ? ' '
The amat bowed till his head touched the floor be-
fore the Golden Foot and he crawled away from the
presence the most unhappy man in all the king's pos-
sessions. Then in great haste he ran to his house and
called all the charm-makers in the city to come to him
without delay. Then when they had assembled before
him he commanded them to make him a charm which
would be stronger than the one tattooed upon the body
of the robber chief, Boh Lek Byah. But the charm-
sellers one and all declared that this was an impossibil-
ity, for the thief had upon the luckiest day of the whole
year eaten a piece of flesh cut from the body of a mur-
dered man, and so he could not be harmed in any way,
neither was it in their power to give his lordship the
amat a charm stronger than his.
Very frightened was the amat when he heard this,
and very frightened were the soldiers who had been
ordered to go with him and catch the thief. Their
wives also cried all that night, for they knew what a
terrible man the robber was, and how angry he would
be with the men who had dared come to capture him.
He would show no mercy, and without doubt would kill
them all, and in derision send their heads back to the
city afterward. This the robber had done before more
than once to parties of soldiers sent to take him.
96 FOLK LORE STORIES
Now it happened that among the soldiers who fol-
lowed the Ainat Long was one who had a very wise and
clever wife, and when she saw her husband march away
and knew the great danger that he and his fellows were
in, she went to the wife of another soldier, and this is
what she said :
"Sister, oie, listen to my words. If we do naught
but sit in our houses and weep our husbands will all
assuredly arrive at destruction, for the boh is a very
cruel and cunning man. Of what use will our houses
be to us if we have no husbands? Listen, therefore,
to what I say. The man who collects the blackmail
for the boh from the headman of a village across the
river and delivers it into his hand is well known to me.
His name is Maung Gyei, and he sells books in the
bazaar. He is a very wise man, and knows all the fol-
lowers of the Boh Lek Byah. Let our husbands fight
the boh with silver. It is sharper than a sword, and
injures not the man who handles it skillfully. We will
collect all the money we can. I will sell my earrings,
thou canst sell thy bracelets, and the wives of all the
other soldiers can do likewise. This will bring a big bag
of silver, and half of it we will give to Maung Gyei.
He will then call some of the followers of the boh to a
secret place and tell him that the Amat Long will give
him the balance in return for the head of their master,
if they take it to his lordship ere three days have
have elapsed. Our husbands will then bring the head
of this wicked man to the royal palace and lay it be-
fore the Golden Foot ; they will reap much honor and
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 97
glory for having fulfilled the order of the king and the
country will be freed from this great trouble.
Now, when the wives of the other soldiers heard
these words they perceived that she was indeed a very
clever woman, fit to be the wife of a great amat instead
of a common soldier, and one ran swiftly after the
amat and his men, for in truth they had not gone far,
but were traveling slowly, because they feared to come
up with the boh and his fierce followers ; and they were
filled with joy at the good news the messenger brought
them. At the order of the amat his men hid them-
selves in a thick jungle till the money should be col-
lected and brought to them.
After two days and when it was very dark, a man
came to them saying that he was the friend of Maung
Gyei, and bore with him the head of the robber chief,
and thereupon showed it wrapped up in a cloth. Then
were the soldiers full of joy again, and they paid the
money to him, and that night they slept peacefully, for
they knew that their enemy could harm them no more,
and that they had been delivered from the great dan-
ger which had been threatening them. Before they
slept the amat sent a swift messenger to the city to tell
the king the good news that the robber chief was dead,
and that they were bearing his head with them and
would present it before the Golden Foot the next
Next day, therefore, at the head of his men, he
marched to the Golden Palace, and the people of the
city were so full of joy over the fact that Boh Lek
98 FOLK LOEE STOKIES
Byah was dead, that great numbers followed the pro-
cession to the palace gates in the hopes of getting a
glimpse at the head of their enemy, and everybody
praised the Arnat Long for his bravery and wisdom in
killing the robber chief who had oppressed them so
sorely. His wife also called musicians and dancers, and
gave orders to her servants to prepare a great feast that
night in honor of her brave husband. They reached
the Golden Foot and knelt before the throne, but when
the basket was opened, behold, it contained the head
of another man, and not that of the bo li at all.
Then did all the people in the city laugh at the amat
because his enemy had deceived him, and he fell from
his rank of chief amat. All his golden umbrellas were
taken away from him and given to his successor, and
he was obliged to earn his living by selling medicines
in bazaar, and from that day till he died he bore the
nickname of Amat Toak Arah ; l but the people all
praised the cleverness of his enemy, the thief.
Now, when the king saw how cunning Boh Lek
Byah was and how easily he had deceived his servant,
he determined that he himself would take the robber
chief and thus gain great credit and renown. To this
end he gave orders to the headman of every village
throughout his kingdom that directly the robber should
come within his jurisdiction he was to report immedi-
ately, and the king would send a trusty officer to arrest
him. He did not tell them that he himself would go,
1 Literally, "The counselor who fell from his rank," i. e.,
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 99
therefore for a long time the headmen feared to obey
the order of the king for, said they among themselves:
'" The bo h deceived the Amat Long, who was one of the
most cunning of men, and will he not escape from any
other whom it should please our lord the king to send
against him ? Is there any more cunning man in the
palace now than before ? When he finds out also that
we have reported his presence to the king his mind will
become hot against us, and he will without doubt re-
turn and destroy all our houses and kill everybody in
our village. Nay, it is better to give him silver and
beg him begone elsewhere," so although they told the
messengers of the king they would follow his words,
they simply held their peace when the dreaded robber
chief was near their village.
But after a long time the headman of Myo Haung,
who was braver than his fellows, came to the palace
and told the king that the boh was then at his village,
and would leave when it became dark, taking boat for
Myo Kywe, which was a suburb of the city of Pagan.
The heart of the king was filled with joy when he
heard this piece of good news, and he gave the headman
a great reward. Also he took off the royal robes such
as is the custom of kings to wear, and put on very poor
ones so that no one would think that he was the lord
who ate the country of Pagan. He also took with him
a sword ; not the royal sword with the silver sheath
and ivory handle, but an old clah with a wooden handle
bound around with rattan string, and a sheath of wood,
such as the common people carry, then he went to the
100 FOLK LOEE STOBIES
bank of the river near Myo Kywe and waited. He
waited long, but his heart was strong and he did not
become discouraged by reason of the waiting, and at
last he saw coming down the river a small boat, and in
it a man whom he knew immediately to be the thief.
Maung Lek Byah guided his boat toward the bank
near where the king was seated, for he was a skillful
oarsman, and when he had fastened it with a rattan
loop to the end of his oar stuck into the soft mud at
the Avater's edge he ascended the path to the village,
and as he reached the top of the bank he caught sight
of the king in his dingy clothes and wearing the old
sword with the wooden handle, sitting on the side of
He was surprised to see a man there at that time of
night, for the gongs which call the priests and old
women to worship had sounded long before, and every-
body in the village was sound asleep, therefore he gazed
earnestly at the king and then called out :
"Who is that?"
" It is a man who wishes to arrive at the rank of
disciple to our lord, ' ' replied the king.
" Art thou a man of the day or a man of the
night ? " asked the robber looking down at him.
"Thy servant is a man of the night," replied the
' ' Hast thou not heard how many of my followers
have been caught and executed ? How that the tigers
at the entering in of the Tillages will not now eat oxen
but wait till one of my men is tied up for them ? I
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 101
tell thee they have not long to wait either. Art thou
"Ah, our lord," replied the king, "thy disciples
suffered because they did not take heed and follow in
the footsteps of our lord, therefore have they arrived
at destruction ; but thy servant will study thee,
pay ah, and thus will I learn how to become a great
bo h and also to escape their fate."
Now when the king talked in this fashion the boh
was very pleased with him, and gave him permis-
sion to follow. He also promised to teach his new dis-
ciple all his arts ; that he would not let him ever be
caught and would make him as famous a boh even as
he was. "And so," said he, "as thou hast a sword
with thee, follow me. I will give thee thy first lesson."
Now it happened that as they walked along toward
the city the thief began to think within himself, "Who
can this new disciple be? He surely comes from a
high family, for he speaks not like the common people,
but as kings have a custom of speaking. He wears the
clothes of a common man, and carries the sword of a
coolie, but yet his words are the words of one used to
command. Can he be a spy sent by the amat whom I
tricked so nicely the other day, I wonder ? ' ' and thus
he turned it over and over in his mind.
The hpeas have ever aided the kings of Burma, and
now those whom the king had been in the habit of
feeding daily were watching over him, and when they
heard the bo h thus talk with himself, for the spirits
can hear us think even when we make no sounds of
102 FOLK LOEE STORIES
words, they put it into the head of the robber to go to
the house of the king's own astrologer. It was not
very far and they soon arrived there. Then Maung
Lek Byah said to the king :
' ' Stay thou here and watch ; if thou dost see or hear
aught come and call me," but he himself went under
the house of the astrologer to discover whether he slept
or not. When he knew that the man was sound asleep
he would draw a sharp knife which he carried in his
girdle, cut a hole in the mat side of the house, creep
in through this hole and take what he wished ; then he
would escape before the lord of the house awoke.
As he was watching, however, he heard the astrologer
come out upon the veranda so that he could study the
stars, for that was his custom ; then he heard him say
to himself :
' ' Truly this is a good thing to marvel at, for I see
the star of that famous robber chief, Boh Lek Byah,
and following it closely is the star of none other than
the ruler of the Golden Palace himself."
For a long time the astrologer sat upon his veranda
pondering over this strange occurrence and trying to
think what it should portend; but in vain. He could
think of no solution of the mystery, so after again saying
that it was a good thing to marvel at he gave it up and
went into his house to sleep.
Thus did the thief discover the high rank of his new
disciple, for the astrologer knew the star of the boh well
and would make no mistake. He also knew the star
of the king. Had this same astrologer not cast the
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 103
horoscope of the robber chief and foretold which days
'were lucky and which unlucky to him, so that by tak-
ing heed he had never been caught? Therefore when
he again came forth from under the royal astrologer's
house and saw the king was still waiting without, even as
he had given orders, his mind was filled with great fear.
Then said the king directly he saw the robber: "
Kin Byah, thy servant knows a place where there are so
many rubies that they are as common as maknin seeds
that the children play with in the dust ; gold is as
plentiful as iron is with us, and there is enough silk to
stock ten bazaars. All this is within reach of our
hands. I can guide thee to the place, for I know it
well; wilt thou follow?"
Then said the thief: "I know of but one place of
which thou canst say that with truth, and that is the
Golden Palace; but a man may not enter there and
live. Knowest thou not that the guards carry sharp
daJis, and that if a man is caught there without per-
mission from the king or one of his ornate, he is imme-
diately impaled ? In very truth it is a place good to
shun and fear greatly, even as the den of a hungry
tiger in the jungle."
"True, brave man," replied the king, "but this
evening as I passed by the palace I saw hanging from
the top of the wall a rope-ladder ; we can climb over,
take enough to make us rich for the rest of our lives,
and run away before the guards with the sharp dahs
discover that we have been there. Thus shall we earn
much wealth and glory, and people throughout the
104 POLK LOEE STOEIES
land will call our lord the 'Boh Who Entered the
Golden Palace,' and all men will fear his name more
than the name of a hungry leopard."
Then were the thoughts of the boh in great confu-
sion, and he said to himself : " Of a truth I am about
to arrive at destruction at last. I have had my last
adventure. If I do not follow the king he will as-
suredly call out to the guard and I shall be taken. If'
I go, how shall I be delivered from the great dangers-
which will surround me in the Golden Palace ? I am
undone whichever way I take."
Then said he to the king: " disciple, whom I love
much, I fear to enter the Golden Palace, for this I per-
ceive is one of my unlucky days. We will therefore
go to Pin Tha village, for I saw this morning a great
number of coolies there. They were following a great
prince from the hills. They have been traveling far to-
day and are therefore heavy with sleep, and we can
despoil them of as much as we can carry away. As
they are very weary with their journey, none will know
aught till they awake in the morning."
"Upon what day wast thou born?" demanded the
king, and the boh said that it was upon a Saturday.
"Then," said the king, " behold ! this is a lucky
day," and he drew forth from under his jacket a horo-
scope, which showed that this was a lucky day upon
which a man who had been born upon a Saturday
could undertake any deed requiring great wisdom and
bravery in its accomplishment, and in spite of all that
Maung Lek Byah could say the king led the way
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 105
toward the palace, and the bo h was obliged to follow
him, which he did with very slow and hesitating steps,
for his heart had become as weak as water.
Even as the king had said, there was a rope-ladder .
hanging over the palace wall, and the bo h perceived in
what manner the king had left the Golden Palace, but
being a very wise man he followed without opening his
They passed through the palace courtyard and saw
there a thing good to marvel at ; all the guards who
ought to have been watching their lord were slumber-
ing, so that the king and the boh gathered up all the
spears and dahs belonging to these men and carried
them away, hiding them in a secret place under one of
As they entered the palace buildings the thief be-
came so full of alarm that all his strength left him and
he could hardly walk. Then the king saw that his
follower had arrived at great fear, and as they passed
the house where the royal food was prepared, he said :
" Friend, I perceive that thou art in sore distress ;
come, eat the food I am about to prepare for thee and
thou wilt become strong. ' '
"Nay," said the boh, "that I cannot do. Can a.
common man eat of the golden food and live ? This
will I not do; surely I should be accounted worthy of
death." The king would not listen to him, but en-
tered the royal kitchen, and with his own hands cooked
some food which he compelled the thief to eat.
Now, the king had prepared two messes, one in
106 FOLK LORE STOEIES
which he had cunningly placed some opium and one
without, and it was the food which contained the opium
that the king gave to the boh. Therefore, after a little
time, he said to the king :
" disciple of mine, I know not what is the matter
with me. I have no strength and although it is death
to sleep in the Golden Palace yet must I sleep, for if I
do not I shall surely die. ' '
As he said these words his head drooped upon his
chest, his eyes closed and he fell asleep. Once more
was the heart of the king filled with joy and he bound
the boh with strong ropes in great haste and made him
Early the next morning the king called the officer
who was in charge of the guard the night before and
when he was come before the face of his majesty, the
king said :
" I have a parable to tell thee. Once upon a time
there was a great king and in his country was also a
famous robber chief and, behold, one night the king
was sore troubled Avith questions of statecraft so that he
could not sleep, therefore he walked throughout his
palace. As he Avas passing through the courtyard he
spied a ladder hanging from the top of the wall. Now
the thief of whom I have spoken had that very night
entered the Golden Palace and at that same moment
the king caught sight of him, loaded down with plun-
der, creeping toward the rope ladder beside which he
stood. Then the king fell upon him and took him
prisoner, bound him securely with strong ropes and
HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 107
dragged him to a safe place ; but the soldiers who should
have been watching were all asleep. What should be
done to such guards as these ? "
Now the officer did not yet know that the dahs of his
men had been stolen, so bowing before the Golden Foot,
he replied :
" Head of thy servant's body, there is but one thing
to be done, they are worthy of death. Their lord should
pass judgment upon them without mercy and that im-
" That is a good judgment," replied the king, and
turning again to the officer of the guard, he said :
' ' Last night I saw the great and renowned robber
chief, Boh Lek Byah, in this palace. I took him pris-
oner with mine own hands, behold, he lies tied fast
with ropes in yonder room, but all the guards who
should have been watching were asleep. Where are
their dahs ? Let every man who has no sword be im-
paled before I eat my morning rice."
Then were the hearts of the king's amats full of joy
when they heard that the thief whom they all feared
was a prisoner in the palace, and they praised the won-
drous bravery and subtlety of their royal master, say-
ing that without doubt he was the bravest and wisest
king who ever sat under a white umbrella.
The king was very proud as he listened to their
praises and gave orders that the robber chief should be
brought before him.
When Boh Lek Byah was led to the Golden Foot he
prostrated himself, and the king said :
108 FOLK LORE STORIES
" If a man be found in the royal palace at night
what hath custom decreed should be the punishment
for his presumption ? "
Then the prisoner said: "King above all kings, it is
"Hast thou anything to say why thou shouldst not
be impaled or given to the tigers to eat ? " demanded
the king in a terrible voice.
" Lord of the world," replied the unfortunate man,
"last night thou didst ask to become disciple to our
lord's slave. Will the disciple order his teacher to be
executed? When our lord's slave was beneath the
royal astrologer's house he discovered that his new dis- .
ciple was the Eater of the Country and so when our
lord of the Golden Palace ordered his slave to enter, he
would have been worthy of death had he not obeyed.
Will the Son of the Sun execute his slave for follow-
ing his words? "
Then when the king heard that the robber had
known who he really was, he marveled much at his
wisdom, and said :
' ' Assuredly thou art too wise a man for the tigers
to eat. Take thou yonder sword, it belonged to him
who yesterday was captain of the royal guard. Follow
me and thou shalt later become my chief amat."
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
ZAYAT, A place built for the accommodation of travelers, also
used as an assembly place for worship, especially during relig-
ious feasts ; they are usually built near monasteries.
PABAH. (Burmese, payah) a god; an image of Gautama
MAU. To be skillful.
AMAT i/6w. The chief amat or chief counselor of a prince.
SOIE. The Indian " OTSS" ; a weight equal to about three and a
half pounds avoirdupois.
CHATTIE. A cooking pot, usually made of earthenware.
HiJK. A deep rent in the earth with steep sides ; a ravine ; a
torrent usually runs in it during the rainy season, but it is dry
in the hot season.
HPEA. Spirit or supernatural being.
AMAT. A minister of State.
HSAN. A rice bag.
NANG ME PEAH. A queen.
I j '350 21 !
BARNES, Anna M*
The Red Hinok, Shan
Folk-Lore StorJes by .C,
BAR>ES, Anna M
The Red Miriok
Shan 5blk-Lore Stories
by W. C, Qrif^s
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO